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EAA to vote on interim chancellor's contract extension

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Detroit – — The board of the Education Achievement Authority for the second time will delay a decision on selecting a new chancellor.

Meanwhile, it will meet to vote Wednesday on extending the contract of interim chancellor Veronica Conforme through Dec. 31.

Conforme's contract with the state-run recovery district ends Oct. 1. The board originally voted to extend it Aug. 26. Under its terms, she will be paid $27,083.33 per month — the same salary paid to former Chancellor John Covington.

The board is continuing its search for a permanent replacement for Covington, who resigned with less than a year left on his contract. Conforme, 41, had been an adviser to the district since January, and became the temporary leader in June.

Veronica Conforme

The board will select between Conforme and Saginaw superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins.

Conforme, former chief operating officer of the New York City Public Schools, has a resume filled with big-city jobs and financial experience. But she has not worked in a classroom as a teacher or superintendent.

Carlton D. Jenkins, superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools, is a longtime educator who has been a teacher, principal and superintendent. With the exception of eight years as a high school principal in Columbus, Ohio, Jenkins' experience has been in small cities and school districts.

One of the two is expected to be named the permanent leader of Michigan's troubled district for failing schools, leaving the EAA's board with an apparent choice between focusing primarily on fixing the system's academics or its finances.

The EAA, conceived by Gov. Rick Snyder to turn around some of the state's lowest performing schools. Enrollment fell nearly 24 percent last fall, and the district's budget is projected to shrink $26.4 million this school year.

The EAA uses a student-based learning model, allowing students to learn at their own pace, that former Chancellor John Covington introduced.

Neither Jenkins or Conforme responded to a request for comment Tuesday.

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