Detroit Public Schools District misses deadline to get $6.5M to pay down old debt

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 18:26:11-05

"I was livid." That's how LaMar Lemmons, board member for Detroit Public Schools Community District, reacted when Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti informed the board that the deadline to file paperwork to get $6.5 million from the state to pay off old debt had been missed. 

The money would have gone to pay down debt still owed by the old Detroit Public Schools. And it was not realized until Monday that the August 15th deadline had passed without the necessary paperwork being filed with the state. 

The $6.5 million was a reimbursement from the state for lost debt millage funds.

District officials say missing out on that money will not affect the day to day operations of the new district, but it would have helped them pay off $2 billion in debt under the old district sooner. That massive debt is still on schedule to be paid off in 2049.

"Ultimately, it was the former CFO who should have turned in the form," Dr. Vitti told 7 Action News.  

Detroit Public Schools Community District Board President Iris Taylor released the following statement Friday:

The Superintendent properly informed the school board when he was made aware of the District’s missed deadline. He also has clearly reported back to the board regarding what occurred and the accountability measures that have and will be taken. In the end, we are all responsible for rebuilding the District, including the school board. This comes with positive and negative occurrences. Although our students, parents, and employees need to know that this incident does not affect Detroit Public Schools Community District’s day to day operations or dollars in the classroom. At this point, it is time to shift our energy and attention to working with the Department of Treasury to obtain the $6.5 million in reimbursement for Detroit Public Schools.