Fix My Schools report leads to changes in Detroit Public Schools spending

Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 17:39:36-04

In January, 7 Action News exposed that Detroit Public Schools was spending millions of dollars on consultants that teachers said weren’t helping kids.

We had obtained a copy of a contract DPS had with a consultant company teaching the Marzano Method,  which claimed to "give teachers a common language.”

The district was on the brink of bankruptcy and kids were sitting in classrooms without teachers allegedly due to the budget. 

Still, the district spent $6 million Title 2a Fund Dollars on the approximately 1.5-year long contract.  

State Superintendent of Schools Brian Whiston said the district could have spent Title 2a Fund money on recruiting teachers.

Darnell Earley, the DPS Emergency Manager at the time, defended the spending decisions.

7 Action News wanted to know if the district’s new leaders had changed course now that there is new leadership and a state plan in place to address debt.

“We definitely heard what people were saying,” said Alycia Meriweather, who is the district’s interim superintendent. “We are headed in a direction that I think teachers and principals will feel good about this year.”

She says the district has new leaders, who have new priorities. The number one priority is getting a highly qualified teacher in every classroom.

“The piece around the money that was put towards those contracts, that was the one that really boiled to the surface. It said, listen we are really struggling, and we have all these issues going on. Why do we have all this money going to an outside contractor, when it could be reinvested in our employees?”

She said this year consultants won’t be brought in from out of state like last year to teach the Marzano method. 

Teachers instead will be given opportunities.

“We want to make sure there are more opportunities for our teachers to go to professional development and facilitate professional development,” said Meriweather. “Both of which result in an additional stipend.”

This is just one topic 7 Action News addressed during a sit down interview with both Meriweather and District Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes. 

On Thursday at 11p.m. on 7 Action News, we will take a look at their concerns and vision for the future of the district.