16 DPS schools could change to charters under state plan

- FOX 2 has learned the schools in the Educational Achievement  Authority, as well as 16 schools, could soon turn into charter schools.

DPS and EAA are putting out a request for proposals from charter school operators Friday, and that has Detroit's delegation of state lawmakers ticked off.

They say they knew nothing about this plan until they were tipped off Thursday, but for weeks they had been in talks with the parties involved.

"This is a blatant attack to tear up our public school system and it's time for it to end now," said Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods)

The Detroit caucus of state lawmakers are fuming after getting wind of  a joint EAA and DPS plan to charter 31 schools - 16 from DPS and all 15 in Gov. Rick Snyder's Educational Achievement Authority.

"Charters don't outperform, there are some that do very well," said State Sen. Bert Johnson (D-Detroit). "But on par with the rest. They do no outperform DPS schools."

"If those parents wanted their kids in charter schools they would've placed them in charter schools," Banks said.

Detroit lawmakers learned of the plan as they were in negotiations for a Detroit schools rescue package including $700 million to cover the district's debt.

"The current 15 schools in the EAA are creating a $50 million hole in the DPS budget," said Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo. "And so if we're going to add an additional 16 schools to the EAA or for them to develop a charter agreement with 31 schools then will the district be able to sustain itself?"

A spokesman for Snyder says the caucus has it wrong and it was never the governor's plan to turn DPS into a charter district.

But these lawmakers are not buying it, saying they've been in talks with the heads of DPS and the EAA, both of whom answer to Gov. Snyder and neither of whom mentioned the plans to charter 31 schools.

"The message we're sending is they need to go back to the drawing board," Johnson said. "And they need to bring us to the table immediately. They need to scrap this plan because nobody is going to sign off on this plan, anyone that has a D and a Detroit by their name."

DPS released a statement saying "It has not made any decisions to charter additional schools and the joint RFP with the EAA is a tool that will allow it have a list of qualified charter providers as it considers school portfolio options moving forward."

"The whole charter school movement has been a failed experiment," said Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. "This is not fair to our students, to our community members and definitely not fair to our teachers."

According to the timeline for the RFP, which was leaked to those lawmakers, charter school lawmakers will have to submit their applications by Feb. 1 and the final decision that would go into who runs those 31 schools would be made in April.

Gov. Snyder appointed the heads of EAA and the Emergency Manager for the district.

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