Education

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
5:30 p.m. — 8:00 p.m. EDT

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Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Detroit - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Robert D'Andrea

Public commenters are against staff layoffs, and Board members don’t know who to ask what about investigating cellphone towers.

Live reporting by Meghan Rutigliano

Public commenters are against staff layoffs, and Board members don’t know who to ask what about investigating cellphone towers.

MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8
I’ll be live-tweeting the @Detroit Public Schools Community District Meeting @Detroitk12 today at 05:30pm on behalf of @DETDocumenters.
@DetDocumenters media partners: @BridgeDet313 @chalkbeatDET @freep @media_outlier @metrotimes @MichiganRadio @PlanetDetroit @wdet @wxyzdetroit

03:16 PM May 16, 2023 CDT

MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 2/70
(DPSCD) is MI's largest public education system, comprised of 106 schools and 50k students. It's governed by a locally-elected, seven-member board. For information on joining the public meeting, go to detroitk12.org/Page/9425#cale…
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 3/70
The meeting will begin in just over an hour. It will take place in person at
Western International High School
1500 Scotten
Detroit, MI 48209
and will stream online at
detroitk12.org/boardmeeting
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 4/70
IMPORTANT: If you believe anything in the coverage this afternoon/evening is inaccurate, please email us at documenters@outliermedia.org with "Correction Request" in the subject line.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 5/70
I'll be back here when the meeting commences and you can follow along here in realtime. Cheers!
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 6/70
The livestream is LIVE, meeting starting officially at 5:33pm. Here is the agenda for reference: go.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Boa…
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Roll call! Quorum, color guard. Star spangled banner beginning...
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Item 3: Approval of Agenda....moved and supported.
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Minutes approved for 8 different items. 4.1-4.8. No discussion.
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Angelique Peterson-Mayberry (Chair of the Board) is providing a shout out to award winners and prizes.
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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Peterson-Mayberry reminding people to care for their mental health. Public comment registration has closed at 5:47.
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Finance Report is now being given by Jeremy Vidito, Chief Financial Officer. Here is the report: go.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Boa…
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https://t.co/fhFQuNrZnf
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Question about bringing students back: 3k students are back after DPS lost 5k students during the pandemic. Door knocking happened directly. Visitors reminded parents and students about accessibility to connecting futures device, laptops repaired and replaced, and parent liaison
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Board Youth Ambassadors Lauren Hatten of Cass Tech is asking Finance Chair about mental health services. Is it equitably funded across the various schools?
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LaTrice McClendon asking chair to be walked through what was provided in terms of services. Vidito responding that it included staff payments, testing, temperature checks, credit recovery for HS students, budget to fund facilities. detroitk12.org
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Vidito says that what they have been showing is expenditures through March 31, 2023.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 18/70
Recognition of District Core Values #1:
go.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Boa…
Detroit won national championship!
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https://t.co/j1g2DeMOWM
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Bates Academy Chess Team posing with their parents and their giant trophy.
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Recognition now going to Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School Robotics Team first DPSCD Middle school Robotics Team to qualify for the International For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Championship. Coach won Compass award as Top Coach.
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Mr. Carl Williams (Executive Director, Office of School Nutrition) is being recognized for his excellence as the 2023 School Lunch Hero. Congrats, Mr. Williams!
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Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti is now presenting the Superintendent's report: go.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Boa…
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Highlights: There are 48,050 students enrolled, attendance hovers around 83%. Attendance rates across schools have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
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https://t.co/S6NO5FkiDH
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https://t.co/v94o3PoW0W
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https://t.co/KQlcIzu98j
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There's some shouting in the audience. Chair reminded everyone to be respectful.
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Some healthy discussion is happening about virtual school versus in-person school. Apparently there are challenges to teaching while hearing virtual schools occurring in the background. Superintendent will look at how to accommodate. Noise cancellation, etc.
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Metrics that Superintendent is presenting have to do with students reporting feeling 1) Challenged 2) Loved and/or 3) Prepared. This data is meant to inform leadership and provide insight. It's collected by a third party.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 31/70
Superintendent report accepted. Agenda is now being amended to move consent agenda items 13.01-13.16 and Item 14 to go before Item 10 which is closed session. Motion carried. Student Ambassadors can now be present for the most actionable items.
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Dr. Taylor supports Student Ambassador's motion to move up their report to go right before Public Comment section. WOW. These student ambassador's ROCK!
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 33/70
Speaker is Amara Small of The School at Marygrove. Says that she's bringing forward feedback from students. Issue around language fluency and communication barriers.
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Now Lauren Hatten of Cass Tech asking for better meeting times so students can participate! They are now naming a number of scholarship winners, recognizing baseball team. Highlighting students in their district and their achievements!
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Student ambassador report is received. Board Chair is addressing the concerns raised by Student Ambassador report: 1) They will move the meetings to various parts of the city and the meetings ARE virtual. Says they will think about Saturday meeting.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 36/70
Conversation happening now about Paraeducators and academic interventionists (I believe it is the Finance Chair addressing this concern directly). Says there is no change in staffing. Western called out as a school with significant language barrier challenges. DIA too...
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Public Comment is now open: Virtual Public Commentors had to raise hands prior to 5:47. In Person: had to have expressed interest also before 5:47.
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Clarity being given by Board Chair. Superintendent will respond to questions or concerns and emails can be sent via email. 3 minutes per speaker.
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Social Worker (representing Ancillary staff) speaking out about feeling overloaded, outstanding pay for social workers. Asking Dr. Nikolai Vitti (Superintendent) to respond to broken equipment repair requests. Says Vitti has divided them by not being equitable with payments.
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Same speaker saying they are short-staffed across the board. Students cannot be evaluated properly because evaluated is out of state. Consider hiring social workers back into the district. Medicade billing work needs to be done.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 41/70
New speaker talking about layoffs. Telling Vitti that he should have done a survey first before layoffs. A lot of people are angry and upset and she dislikes the memos that Dr. Vitti put out saying the unions are not bargaining. She says there haven't been 2 parties at the table.
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Says she is being put out and wants the board members to know they have been offered nothing, those who have been laid off. There is a lot of support and clapping in audience for her comments.
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A teacher asking Board and Superintendent to look and see about Summer services for primary school students. Thinks a lot of students lose something in Summer by not being active and there are issues with food and hunger. Wants kids to have refuge in Summertime. Wants central air
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Same teacher asking what they can do to recruit and retain African American males working in schools to help students (esp male students) along and mentor them.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 45/70
New speaker: Apparently students died from a type of influenza. Why? is this a cover up? Wants more transparency. Covid 19 is still spreading and mutating. Covid can damage the immune system. MI Safety Committee demands that Garvey school be shut down. It's a deadly situation.
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Wants educators and parents to stand with them. Rank and File Teachers unions. He says these Committees are fighting against needless death and infections. Need better resources. MI Rank and File Safety Committee.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 47/70
Teacher saying cuts and layoff cannot be fought by committees alone. Rank and File committees are growing. It's a crisis of capitalism. Auto workers who are parents to DPSCD students are natural allies. Will be entering into period of struggle.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 48/70
FYI: The Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee is an international network of educators, students, parents, & workers spearheading the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic and massively expand funding and resources for public education.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 49/70
New speaker talking about exposure to radiation. Says no investigations are happening. Says they are dying in the schools. Need people to read what experts are saying about risks at Detroit Public Schools.
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New speaker says Teacher Thomas's music education at Bates Academy is being threatened and called into question. This woman is speaking up for her. Says musical learning helps develop math aptitudes.
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Student speaking out on behalf of her CTA (Clinical Teaching Associate) and says she helps the students tremendously and supports their learning and wellbeing and confidence. Lots of audience support happening.
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Senior Student from Henry Ford speaking out in support of his CTA.
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Mother playing her son's recording speaking out in support of teachers being treated equitably. Some children don't have male role models. Says she did wellness check during COVID.
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Teacher advocated for keeping Teaching assistants and support staff employed. She worries about the schools to prisons pipeline. Need to retain their male mentors who are role models.
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Another speaker representing labor union mentioning that there haven't been appropriate negotiations before the sweeping layoffs happened in April 2023. Says the district hopes the union will give up. Says they will not give up. President Lumpkins is her name.
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Previous speaker was the President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT). Executive Vice President Jason Posey is currently speaking. Urging negotiations. Says true good faith collaborations must improve significantly if Detroit schools are to return to world class status.
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Proud DFT member says he's there in solidarity with CTA and Para Professionals. Says he works with severely challenged children. Growing up in Detroit he says the superintendent and the DFT members were vital to his survival and future when he was young.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 58/70
New speaker: Hundreds of people losing their jobs were given no say in the budget. Students had no input. Union was not invited to the negotiating table before a public vote. Who decided this? Accusing school board of making decisions without them. Says the board members benefit.
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DFT member urges school board to vote NO on the budget or they will not be voted back into their roles.
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Parent accuses principal Edwynn Bell - Principal, Burton International Academy - Detroit Public Schools Community District of running the school into the ground. Says he has no compassion. She is telling the board he was provoking the parents by saying "Bring it" at a meeting.
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Previous speaker accused Bell of breaking her daughter's phone last year.
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New speaker supporting teachers. Says board should give teachers bargaining room and respect.
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It's the 1 hour mark on Public Comments. The chair is telling the board that there are 9 speakers waiting on line and 26 speakers waiting in person. Motion made to extend comment time. Extension of time approved.
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WOW. It's getting pretty heated in this meeting between a very angry employee and Dr. Vitti. Lots of union members are cheering. Vitti says he will call the worker directly.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 65/70
Board chair reminded people that comments are being received and questions WILL be answered at end of the comment section.
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Several folks who had their names on the public comments list seem to have left. Comments resuming. Woman asking for more lighting in the auditorium. Addressing the board: support Para Professionals. Board must support para educators.
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Cell phone towers are up for discussion. Speaker says they should not be exposing children to cell phone towers.
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New speaker accusing Principal of hitting and abusing children. Asking what will be done about it.
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Teacher/School Professional speaking up for FMLA rights.
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Thread continues here: twitter.com/MotorCityMegs8…
Live reporting by Meghan Rutigliano

Public commenters are against staff layoffs, and Board members don’t know who to ask what about investigating cellphone towers.

MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8
They are out of closed session. 11:08. Approved.

10:08 PM May 16, 2023 CDT

MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 2/5
They are pushing through! Motion on floor to tie bar 12.01. 12.02. 12.04. Approved tie bar. Motion to approve 12.03. Moved, supported. One opposed.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 3/5
11.01: Approved. One opposed.
11.02: Terminations for cause. Approved. One opposed.
Motion for adjournment approved and supported.
Meeting adjourned at 11:12pm.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 4/5
This officially concludes my meeting coverage of @Detroitk12's May Monthly board meeting.
MotorCityMegs @MotorCityMegs8 5/5
For more meeting coverage, visit Docmenters.org

Agency Information

Detroit Public Schools Community District

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally-elected, seven-member board. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has 106 schools and educates 50,000 children.

Documents

No documents available

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