Detroit district: No decision on more school closures

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Two Detroit school programs will be moved to other buildings this fall but the district has not decided whether it will move forward with additional school closings, officials said in a clarification of previous comments by the state superintendent.

“Currently, the district is only relocating two programs, Durfee and Turning Point Academy, to other buildings for the 2017-18 school year,” said Chrystal Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Officials will transform Durfee into a mixed-use “community innovation center” after its students move to Central High School this fall. School board members previously voted to move Turning Point Academy, a program for special education students, to another building.

“And then of course as we look at our resources, our feeder patterns, it would be up to the board (whether to close other schools)," said Jacqueline Robinson, a district spokeswoman. “But we have not made any decisions to close any schools at this time, other than (the Durfee and Turning Point buildings).”

The school board remains “committed to keeping schools open,” Robinson added.

DPSCD is working with the State Board of Education to reach a partnership agreement to avoid forced closures of the city’s lowest performing schools. Officials have not yet decided whether voluntary closures will be part of that agreement.

“We’re not there yet,” Robinson said. “We’ve had no discussions there at all.”

State Superintendent Brian Whiston issued a “corrective statement” late Thursday after meeting with DPSCD officials to discuss the developing partnership agreement.

“My understanding is the Detroit Public Schools Community District has currently decided to relocate two programs, Durfee and Turning Point Academy, to other buildings,” Whiston said.

Whiston on Wednesday told members of the State Board of Education that DPSCD planned to close an unknown number of under-performing schools.

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