Detroit Public Schools Proposes Moving Some Schools To Newer Facilities

"It's not ideal to move, but it makes sense because we don’t have the money."

WWJ News
December 03, 2019 - 5:14 pm

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DETROIT (WWJ) -- Come next fall, some students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District could be going to different schools.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says anybody who’s paying attention can recognize that the district has improved education-wise, but its buildings have not. As fixing them may cost too much money, Vitti says the district is exploring the possibility of moving some schools into physically better buildings.

Among those schools is Casimir Pulaski Elementary-Middle School on State Fair Avenue, west of Gratiot on the city's east side.

"It’s an older building, needs over $10 million of improvement, but only a mile away, there’s a building that was used for adult education," Vitti said.

Pulaski could move to the newer facility this fall, while the old building would be used for early education, which Vitti calls a "win-win." Other schools that could see potential moves include Communication & Media Arts (CMA) High School, and Detroit International Academy, according to a report from the Detroit News.

Vitti says he’s been meeting with parents and for the most part, the reaction has been positive, though some do express concern about relocating.

"Most of the feedback has been positive, where people have been saying, 'yeah, we don’t believe that this is the best quality facility and the facility that you’re recommending is an upgrade,'" Vitti said. "So, it’s not ideal to move, but it makes sense because we don’t have the money to upgrade that specific building, but they’re moving into a better building."

Vitti says eventually it will take bonds or some state funding to improve buildings in need in the school district. He hopes the district will some day be able to get back to the point where it can sell bonds to fund improvement projects.

The district is also proposing to convert Martin Luther King, Jr. High School to a full exam school, similar to Cass Tech and Renaissance high schools.  

Vitti also says something needs to be done to fix how schools are funded -- based on property taxes.

"I don’t think any citizen in Michigan would say it’s fair that students in those districts have more money -- $190 million more, if you will – to run the district than we do. I don’t think anyone would say that is fair and I think from a policy perspective, that could be adjusted," Vitti said.