Judge bars Sharon McPhail from entering school after firing
Detroit — A Wayne County Circuit judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order for a Detroit charter school seeking to keep Sharon McPhail from managing business operations there after she refused to leave.
The restraining order, issued by Wayne County Circuit Judge Craig Strong, prohibits McPhail from exercising any authority over the operations of Detroit Community Schools, entering the school property or interfering with the operation of its newly appointed conservator, Nancy Berkompas.
McPhail was terminated as the school's chief administrative officer after refusing to obtain state certification to be superintendent at the school within three years of taking the position in 2012, school officials said.
The same day, the school's authorizer, Bay Mills Community College, installed Berkompas, a former teacher and school superintendent, as conservator.
McPhail, an attorney and former Detroit councilwoman, is the former superintendent of the charter school. She was not immediately available for comment Friday.
In 2016, the Michigan Department of Education ruled the charter school was employing a chief administrative officer who was not properly certified. The education department then fined the school and ordered it to comply with state law, Tom Shields, a spokesman for the college.
The fines reached more than $200,000 as the school appealed the ruling, officials said.
The judge's restraining order is in effect until 11 a.m. Tuesday when McPhail is scheduled to appear at a hearing where she must show cause as to why it should be lifted.
The school, in a motion filed Thursday, demands McPhail immediately return access to the school's property, bank accounts and records in her custody or control.
"The court ruling allows Bay Mills to move forward with our plans to bring the school in compliance with state laws and secure the financial resources needed to not disrupt the most important job of providing the kids with a quality education," Shields said in an email. "We are confident in a supportive ruling on Tuesday whether Ms. McPhail shows up or not."
The charter school, founded in 1997, serves more than 650 students in grades K-12 and is in the Brightmoor neighborhood. Bay Mills Community College oversees 46 charter schools serving more than 22,000 students.