Education

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024
5:30 p.m. — 8:00 p.m. EST

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This board meeting was originally scheduled for Jan. 16, was then rescheduled to Jan. 23, and again moved to Jan. 30.

View the meeting online: https://www.detroitk12.org/boardmeeting

Agendas and more can be found at DPSCD BoardDocs: https://www.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Board.nsf/Public

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Detroit - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Tasha Lord

The board announced applications for the Library Commission are open through Feb. 29. The board approved three contracts totaling more than $188 million for school bus services. After a closed session, it approved several terminations and an employee recommendation.

Live reporting by Amelia Benavides-Colón

In its first meeting of 2024, the board announced applications for the Library Commission are open through Feb. 29. The board approved three contracts totaling $188M for school buses. After a closed session the board approved several terminations and an employment recommendation.

Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon
hey hey Detroit! 🏙️
I'm covering tonight's Detroit Public Schools Community District Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. for @DetDocumenters 🩵
media partners: @media_outlier @BridgeDet313 @freep @PlanetDetroit @wdet @metrotimes @chalkbeatDET @MichiganRadio @wxyzdetroit

11:35 AM Jan 30, 2024 CST

Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 2/84
Who's DPCSD?
This locally elected, 7-member board represents the LARGEST education system in the state, with 106 schools and over 50,000 students.
👩🏽‍💻Note: today's meeting was originally scheduled for Jan. 16... and then rescheduled to Jan. 23....and again moved to today, Jan. 30
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 3/84
Today's meeting will be held in person at East English Preparatory Academy at Finney High School, 5020 Cadieux
OR you can join virtually at this link:
OR watch live on DPSCD's website and social pages:
go.boarddocs.com/mi/detroit/Boa… detroitk12.org/boardmeeting
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 4/84
Some things to look out for in today's agenda:
- Closed session to discuss negotiations for collective bargaining agreements (which awarded teachers a raise last Sept.)
- A contract with Apple?
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 5/84
Recent news on teacher salaries:
chalkbeat.org/detroit/2023/9…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 6/84
Okay the time is 5:31 p.m. and it looks like the Board is still making its way through the public comment period of the Organizational Board Meeting that was scheduled for today at 5 p.m.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 7/84
Still wrapping up the earlier meeting... hold tight folks
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 8/84
Allllllright!
It is 5:52 p.m. and the Regular Board meeting is being called to order
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 9/84
Roll Call: there is a quorum present
*I didn't catch names
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 10/84
Today's moment of silence is dedicated to 2 employees and 1 student
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 11/84
First up is the Western International Color Guard performing the Star Spangled Banner and a performance by JRK Dance Company
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 12/84
Today's agenda along with meeting minutes are approved. Moving to Chair Remarks
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 13/84
Chair Remarks:
- The reason behind the cancellations this month was because of district-wide closures due to weather
- The next meeting is Feb. 14
- Progress is being made on the strategic plan and will be shared soon
- There will be in-person and virtual meeting regarding
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 14/84
- There will be in-person and virtual meeting regarding the literacy lawsuit 2/2
chalkbeat.org/detroit/2023/7…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 15/84
Regarding the distribution food strike, students are still getting lunches with full variety of healthy options, said President Angelique Peterson-Mayberry.
She said social media is pushing an incorrect version of this story and no kids have gone without
chalkbeat.org/detroit/2024/0…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 16/84
Now for the student board members report:
- School bathrooms being locked during the day. Students report being limited to 1 bathroom with behavioral issues being the reasoning behind the closures. This is an example of consequences of action, said student members *name?*
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 17/84
^ A possible solution to this could be to address behavior issues at the root of the problem
- Regarding the food shortage, Muslim students who only eat halal foods are reporting lack of options. Many report only weekly changes to meals
cbsnews.com/detroit/news/d…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 18/84
^ A solution is to expand contracts with Muslim food providers
*Apologies I lost audio on the end of the student presentation
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 19/84
There's a question on the population of Muslim students and if a survey can be taken.
No demographics are taken but there is a suggestion to adding survey questions on this topic to beginning of the year handout materials
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 20/84
There's a question for the students regarding how they chose which issues will be amplified at each meeting
The students explain they have a collaborative group chat with student representatives at all the schools and they work together to determine which 2 topics mean the most
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 21/84
Now for the Finance Presentation:
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 22/84
The city's rising property values is a good sign for DPSCD
freep.com/story/news/loc…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 23/84
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 24/84
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 25/84
And this concludes the finance report
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 26/84
*I should've clarified earlier this presentation is led by Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Vidito
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 27/84
And now for the Superintendent's report:
Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said today is dedicated to thanking and recognizing the Board for the work they do and the progress they've made (he bought everyone flowers along with a plaque in honor of their work)
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 28/84
Photo op!
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 29/84
Some district metrics:
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 30/84
Enrollment is up 300 students since the fall count
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 31/84
Daily attendance is at 83% - most of this lately is due to weather and chronic absenteeism is on a 3% decline from last year
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 32/84
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 33/84
Of the bottom 30% of students, more than 60% of those students are showing growth midyear
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 34/84
59% of all juniors and seniors are enrolled in 1 career tech class or are dual-enrolled in a college class
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 35/84
61% of students are eating breakfast, an increase from last year
83% are eating lunch, another improvement and any shortages have been addressed with zero remaining concerns
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 36/84
United Way will provide $2,000 per student across the tri-county area to send students to 5 weeks of K-8 summer school.
There was no way to use the literacy lawsuit money for summer school because it limits to only literacy learning
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 37/84
This concludes the superintendent's report
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 38/84
🚨 It's public comment time
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 39/84
1: Started by giving credit to the student board members and encouraged them to hold strong to their beliefs. Wants to know how much is being spent on bus options for a specific group, CMA? She said DPSCD picked a school surrounded by blight to host students and parents.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 40/84
1: (continued) Also wants to know if the "cell phone tower money" will go back into the school system. Overall she's very discouraged with the board and is alleging specific members overlooking certain areas
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 41/84
I think this is the cell phone tower money she was referring to:
detroitnews.com/story/news/loc…
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 42/84
2: Where is the $100M being held up in Lansing that is meant for DPSCD? She said public education is a right and there needs to be efforts made to ensure Black students have a right to literacy and education. She said the literacy lawsuit needs to be spread across the country
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 43/84
2: (continued) Said she feels disengaged from the Board, "do you even know what I'm talking about?"
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 44/84
3: Said his organization is responsible for donating hundreds of socks and underwear to students. Is a graduate of DPS schools himself and encourages the Board to continue inspiring students to be changemakers
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 45/84
4: Said her student is not visibly Muslim, she doesn't wear a hijab and her school did not make efforts to accommodate her meals. Said she went from a PTA President to a DPSCD employer and the district gave her a voice. "If you knew me before COVID I didn't talk, I would just sit
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 46/84
and not speak up... so I really want to thank you for that." Also wants to point out that her area only has two accessible high schools and wants to know what to do if her daughter has toa attend a further school.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 47/84
5: A commenter from earlier this evening is back to thank Dr. Vitti for addressing his concerns about students receiving a proper aviation education system. And wants to give kudos to all of today's student performers and representatives present today
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 48/84
6: Another commentor repping Davis Aeorpapsce International High School - and wants to know if $50K can be dedicated to aerospace education
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 49/84
7: Member of Detroiters for Tax Justice said board member Sonya Mays voted to approve the "transformation of health brownfield plan" that includes tax subsidy on DPSCD to go toward housing around Henry Ford Hospital. This is a clear conflict of interest.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 50/84
8: Wants to thank Dr. Vitti for shouting out the much-needed summer school program. She said her school has 4 vacancies. She wants other food vendors to be explored. And what is the plan for the Cass Tech High School football field?
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 51/84
9: *cannot be heard*
10: *cannot be heard*
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 52/84
11: *cannot be heard*
And this concludes public comment.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 53/84
Dr. Vitti would like to answer questions:
- Blight at the former CMA building will be addressed in partnership with the city and follow-up will be made on this
- Estimated transportation cost is $400K to shuttle students to the former CMA building
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 54/84
- There are no plans to distribute the cell phone tower money. But more flex dollars are being allocated to schools, similar to the cell tower revenue being inquired about - it's unrestricted dollars.
- The literacy grant is $140 million coming from the state
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 55/84
- The literacy grant is $140 million coming from the state - and the state sent a letter explaining displeasure with the funds being held up. He said they haven't received the eligibility to even apply for that funding, it's waiting on Michigan to release a district grant
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 56/84
- Northwestern, Crocket, Cody, MLK and Finney will all offer sports medicine courses next year
- Davis Aerospace is offering a new aviation program this year
- Cass Tech's field will be included as a philanthropic initiative to switch the field from grass to turf and expand it
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 57/84
- Vendor diversification is always a priority and if food is "atrocious" let Dr. Vitti know directly for it to be addressed
This concludes Dr. Vitti's questions/answers.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 58/84
Renaissance also offers a CNA program and internship opportunities at surround healthcare buildings
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 59/84
Mays would like to respond to the conflict of interest allegations.
She is a developer but for a nonprofit org. She will make no money from the Henry Ford transfer. She would also challenge any concerns with the tax incentive program and that any money is being taken from DPSCD
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 60/84
🚨🚨🚨 It is closed session time to discuss strategy connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 61/84
Closed sessions are periods where the Board is able to meet in privacy, away from the public, to discuss any matters that are sensitive or confidential.
Today's topic is collective bargaining, which includes teacher and union salaries - where negotiations are always confidential
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 62/84
Grab a snack, take a stretch and I'll let you know when the meeting is called back to session 🫶🏽
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 63/84
1 hour check-in. Still in closed session, once they come back we have to get through:
-Administrative Terminations
- Recommendations for Employment
- 9 contracts
- Announcements
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 64/84
Members are trickling in!
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 65/84
We are officially out of closed session 8:34 p.m.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 66/84
Under Personnel Actions:
We have 11 administrative terminations up for approval
And the report has been accepted unanimously with no discussion.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 67/84
11.02 is a recommendation from Dr. Vitti for employment of a candidate
They received an average weighted score of 76% and the Board is recommending them for hiring.
This motion has been approved unanimously without discussion
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 68/84
Moving into the Consent Agenda we have nine contracts up for approval.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 69/84
12.01: is a 5-yr contract for yellow bus transportation services with 3 vendors for $188,030,566. If these contracts are not approved, the District will be out of compliance with state and federal law. Extending 1 of the 3 would lead to driver shortages and poor performance
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 70/84
12.02: is a contract extension for fencing installation through for $4 million to replace damaged fencing and fates, install new fencing and repair damaged/vandalized fences throughout the district. If not approved, play/athletic areas will be out of compliance and unsafe
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 71/84
12.03: is a contract amendment and increase with Plante Moran Realpoint for consultation on the Master Plan through Nov. 2029 for $24K for a total of $13,156,792. Under the Plan: renovations coming to Fleming, Hancock, Asbury Park & future PK expansion along with 4 building demos
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 72/84
12.04: is a cooperative purchasing agreement to purchase document cameras & SMART-brand interactive tech, licenses and accessories in the amount of $2,556,620. The contract includes 400 interactive panels & document cameras and licenses for enhanced teacher training & services
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 73/84
12.05: is a contract for student laptops & carts for $4,286,340. In 2021-22 DPSCD purchased 39K laptops with 3-yr warranty on damages (but not lost, stolen) There is a 5-10% loss of devices for the 2023-24 year which this contract will fill to ensure the 1:1 student-device ratio
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 74/84
12.06: is a contract with Apple for tech devices and accessories in the amount of $1,719,854. In 2021-22 DPSCD purchased iPads for all PK-2 students and all ESE students PK-12 (with a 3-yr protection plan on damages but not losses). DPSCD projects a 5-10% loss for the 2023-24 yr
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 75/84
12.07: is a contract for Pre-K furniture, materials & delivery service for $1,042,798. In 2022, DPSCD approved a 5yr Pre-K expansion plan to add 1,264 Pre-K seats in addition to 27 new Pre-K classrooms at 25 schools with an additional 40-50 new classrooms over the next 3 yrs
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 76/84
12.08: is a contract renewal to provide biennial physical inventory for $400K. This contract would authorize an assessment inventory, which is required every 2 years - DPSCD has made major changes since the last assessment adding IT hardware and vehicles for various departments
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 77/84
12.09: approves the procure of Police, School Board Legal & General Liability Insurance Policies for $1,375,000. These policies include coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury in addition to DPD police offers and professional liability coverage for DPSCD
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 78/84
ALL of the contracts were approved unanimously without discussion.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 79/84
Announcements
-Students' report cards went home today, parents check those backpacks!
-The time has come for Library Commission appointment, this is a 6-yr commitment and interested individuals can reach out to DPSCD. The app. period closes 2/29
-District is closed Feb. 19-23
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 80/84
- A parent listening session is Feb. 6
- the faith-based meeting is Feb. 12
- the next Board meeting is Feb. 13
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 81/84
This concludes the announcements.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 82/84
And there is a motion to adjourn at 8:42 p.m.
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 83/84
This concludes my coverage of the Detroit Public School Community District Regular Board Meeting on January 30, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. for #DETDocumenters
Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon 84/84
You can find more of our coverage at:
documenters.org

Attachments

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.

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