Detroit races to restore power to schools on eve of count day

Statement from Detroit Public Schools

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Crews are racing to restore power to roughly 30 schools Tuesday night. 

A spokesman for the city tells Action News that crews will be working late into the night to get power back on to schools in time for Wednesday.

Dozens of Detroit schools were forced to close Tuesday and students were released to parents after a municipal power outage left them with no electricity.

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A statement released by the school district said, "Detroit Public Schools has experienced a major outage of electrical service from the Detroit Public Lighting Department."

More than twenty schools were dismissed early.

This power outage is the latest in a long list of problems with Detroit's electric system. Most city-run buildings are powered by the Detroit Public Lighting Department, not DTE Energy, which runs consumer and business power in the city.

In February of 2013, the Detroit Public Lighting Authority was established in an effort to repair and - in some places - rebuild the city's municipal power infrastructure. This same system also powers the city's streetlights.

Over the next several years, the Public Lighting Authority will oversee a transition in how Detroit's municipal buildings are powered. The city's Department of Public Lighting will be phased out and DTE Energy will eventually take over the task of providing power to the city's municipal power grid.

DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

We are gravely concerned about today's electrical outages caused by power failures of the Detroit Public Lighting District and the ongoing power issues that have caused many lost school days for our students.

Educating children and raising achievement is our number one priority, and these power issues present unnecessary barriers.  Our leadership today reached out to City and State leaders to express our concerns and seek expedited and bolder solutions, particularly because tomorrow is the state's Pupil Membership Count Day, which could impact our state funding.

We have experienced, with today's outage included, more than 160 days of missed school in the first six months of the year because of PLD power issues. This is three times the number of missed days during all of last year.

Now, on the eve of one of two crucial count days to determine state funding, the pressure is on. 

State officials tell 7 Action News they will reschedule the count if power isn't restored in time. 

"We want our students educated, so every effort is being made to make sure those schools are open to get an education," said Martin Ackley, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education. 

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