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DPS And City Of Detroit Strike Deal On Debt, Vacant School Buildings

DETROIT (WWJ) - A deal has been reached between the city of Detroit and its public school district Tuesday -- in the form of a trade.

The city says it will forgive $11.6 million in DPS debt in exchange for control of 77 vacant school properties and lots scattered throughout the city.

detroit cooley high school1
Cooley High School in Detroit.

"We appreciate the city of Detroit for working with Detroit Public Schools to ensure that the district can keep its funding focused on our number one priority, educating the students of the city of Detroit, while at the same time helping to mitigate the negative impact many of our vacant structures have had on Detroit's neighborhoods," said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin.

Many of the vacant properties involved in the deal will need to be demolished.

"While every effort has been made to sell or lease closed buildings - some of which have been shuttered for many years," said Martin, "we understand that we have a responsibility to be good stewards within the communities in which we own property. "Undoubtedly, it has been a challenge for us to keep every building secure - no matter how hard we have tried - especially given the rampant issue of scrapping."

The next step is an environmental assessment of the buildings before demolition.

"Because DPS understands that school buildings is often the center or hub of a neighborhood," he added."We are committed to doing everything within our power to avoid the closure of any additional school buildings."

Martin says the deal will allow the Detroit Public School district to keep its funding focus on educating students.

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