DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Interviews begin soon for two candidates seeking to become the next superintendent of the Detroit school district.
The process starts Wednesday with Nikolai Vitti of Florida's Duval County schools. Interviews begin April 3 for River Rouge Superintendent Derrick Coleman.
Each will be briefed on the district's financial and academic departments before open interviews are conducted by the school board. Coleman and Vitti will have an opportunity to visit schools and meet teachers, parents and students.
A third finalist, Orlando Ramos of Milwaukee, said he's no longer interested in the Detroit job.
The incoming superintendent will be facing a number of challenging issues that have hampered the Detroit public school system including lawsuits and structural problems.
A California public interest law firm is representing seven Detroit public school students who believe the education they are getting is substandard and essentially want the courts to rule that literacy is a fundamental constitutional right.
"Decades of State disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied Plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy," the suit claims at its start.
In January 2016, a review of Detroit school buildings uncovered mold, water damage and rodents – this after teacher sick-outs in protest of working conditions within the deteriorating school buildings.
A 2011 report showed 47 percent of Detroiters were functionally illiterate — meaning nearly half of they were not able to fill out basic forms for getting a job or having a command over basic understanding for such things as reading a prescription bottle.
The 46,000-student Detroit district is being run by an interim superintendent. The district has been under state oversight for the last eight years.
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