The corruption case that lead to charges against numerous Detroit Public Schools principals, an administrator, and a vendor is impacting other districts. For example, one woman charged had left DPS and was working as the principal of Ypsilanti Community High School. She is now on leave from the district as parents ask, could she have brought corruption to Ypsilanti?
“No,” said Benjamin Edmondson, the Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools. “I am not worried. It couldn’t happen here."
Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Benjamin Edmondson got news of the case announced by federal prosecutors when everyone in the public did.
U.S. Attorneys accused the principal of Ypsilanti Community High Tanya Bowman of taking more than $12,000 in kickbacks while at her previous position as principal at Osborn Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Detroit.
“It was shocking,” said Edmondson. “From my perspective she had done an outstanding job leading the building, so it was shocking.”
He is confident the alleged shocking behavior didn’t continue during her year here at Ypsilanti Community High.
“We have processes in place,” he said.
Before a even a small purchase order is sent out by the school district it is handled by secretaries and approved by a department head, principal, and then central office .
“That’s a deep process. There’s a lot of steps, checks and balances,” said Edmondson.
Federal investigators say that is not how it worked in DPS. Principals allegedly ordered supplies straight from a vendor named Norman Shy and his companies Allstate Sales and Worldwide Sales. He charged for more than he delivered. Principals allegedly got kickbacks.
DPS Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes announced policies similar to those in Ypsilanti after the charges were announced.
Due to emergency management there is another safeguard DPS doesn’t have: an empowered school board. All of Ypsilanti Schools' large purchases are also approved by Superintendent Edmondson and the school board.
“I appreciate my school board because they hold me accountable for what the community wants. They have a right to tell me no. They have a right to do that and they should,” said Edmondson.