DPS struggles to address all code violations

Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 23, 2016

There was a hearing in Federal Court as the Detroit Federation of Teachers continued its lawsuit against Detroit Public Schools today.

The lawsuit came as parents and the union reported unhealthy conditions in schools.

In the meantime, the school district has been working to respond to city inspections that found numerous violations.

7 Action News reviewed inspection reports and re-inspection reports put together by the city after we exposed problems earlier this year. We found there are still many problems unaddressed in Detroit Public Schools.

“Some of the conditions aren’t up to par,” said Marc Byrd, the father of a kindergartner at Vernor Elementary. 

Vernor is one of the schools with conditions exposed by 7 Action News.We found the roof had been leaking for years, damaging the auditorium and gym.

Sources say the roof is still leaking and, according to the city’s inspection reports, the school’s condition improved only slightly - going from ten code violations to nine.

"Updates to DPS buildings are happening daily and we are happy to report that we are making progress; however there is still an enormous amount of work to be done within our school buildings,” said Michelle Zdrodowski, Executive Director of Communications at DPS.

The city says the district is making an effort to address problems.

Nonetheless, so far only eight schools inspected are in good enough shape to comply with city code.

"While we have made good progress, we know that there are larger problems that exist. We are working closely and in cooperation with the City of Detroit, and we have asked for extensions on these major repairs due to lack of funding (complete roof replacements, etc.),” said Zdrodowski.

Detroit Federation of Teachers executive vice president Terrence Martin says the goal of the lawsuit is to encourage long term solutions.  He said teachers often report problems, then never see them addressed. There needs to be a process that creates accountability.

“What we found is there were a lot of band aids put on things, instead of long term solutions,” said Martin.

The district says it will be able to better address problems if its debt is addressed.  Bills passed the state Senate this week would help that.

"To assist us in making these critical repairs it is critical that the House of Representatives pass the $715 million education reform bill in as timely of fashion as possible,” said Zdrodowski.