Parents, Detroit Public Schools fed up after students again miss class due to power outages

(WXYZ) - Power outages forced more than a dozen Detroit Public Schools to cancel class Wednesday.

It’s not the first time DPS parents have been left scrambling at the last minute because of dark classrooms.

Steve Wasko, a spokesman for the district, said in a statement, “Collectively, the days lost by DPS schools this year due to power outages now numbers more than 180 -- equivalent to the total days of instruction in a school year, to put it into perspective.”

The City of Detroit’s Public Lighting Department runs the system that powers DPS.  Beau Taylor, the interim director of the department, said the system is fragile and weakened by bad weather and copper thieves.

By late morning on Wednesday, 15 of the 21 affected schools had their power restored.  The remaining six were expected to be fixed by the end of the day.

The district released this statement:

“We are concerned about the number of days lost throughout this year, and we share parents' concerns that this is inconvenient and disruptive. We will continue to work closely with City officials and the Detroit Public Lighting Department to get this fixed, and we also look forward to a speedy transition to DTE Energy servicing our schools.”

The disruption also left parents rushing to adjust their day. “You have to get a babysitter, you have to call your job, let them know you're going to be late. It's just bad overall,” said Nikeba Weems,  a mom whose child attends Cooke Elementary. That school was closed Wednesday because of the outage.

Detroit is working to transition its customers, including DPS, to the DTE Energy system. Parents are optimistic the move will bring stability to their child’s education and to their day.

 

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