EAA apologizes for 'confusing' letter sent to parents days before students return to school

FERNDALE - Ferndale mother Karen Twomey noticed a funny piece of mail Saturday. It looked like spam, but it came from the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), the statewide school district for failing schools.

"If my child is not attending a failing school, then why is my child receiving this letter," Twomey asked.

The letter stated, "We are very happy to inform you that your child has been selected to enroll in the following school for the 2014-2015 school year, which begins on Tuesday, September 2, 2014," and identified Mumford High School on Wyoming in Detroit as the assigned school. The EAA school is about six miles away from Twomey's home. The letter included a number parents could call. Twomey said no one answered at the school.

"I was absolutely shocked," Twomey said.

Twomey, who is the secretary for the local school board, notified Ferndale Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt right away. She said other neighbors received the same letters.

"It sounded like a selection letter from a private school or a college saying, 'You have been selected' to attend," Prewitt said. "The weekend before students show up, that's when you're telling parents where they need to attend school?"

"It's absolutely strange to be receiving a letter from a takeover agency," said Twomey, who added parents in Hazel Park, Southfield and Grosse Pointe also received letters from the EAA.

EAA spokesman Mario Morrow told 7 Action News the letters caused confusion the agency didn't attend. He wrote in a statement:

"We are proud of our schools and believe they offer parents an exciting new direction for their children's education. However, the letter did not make it clear enough to parents that their local EAA school is just one of several education options available to them. We have been working to clarify this and apologize for any confusion it may have caused."

The agency did not say how many letters were sent out.

A spokeswoman for State Superintendent Michael Flanagan's office said the Michigan Department of Education does not have authority over the EAA and its actions.

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