DETROIT (WJBK) - The man tasked with transferring Detroit Public Schools away from Emergency Management and back into local control talked to the members of the school board for the first time on Wednesday. The number on priority: money
The Detroit school board hasn't had any real power since 2009. The goal for Judge Steven Rhodes is to get that power back in their hands. He met with the members of the elected school board, including John Telford, on Wednesday where things got testy.
"This is all a farce," Telford said, who describes himself as the 'Superintendent in Exile of Detroit Public Schools'.
During the meeting, the DPS transitional Manager was asked a lot of questions but mostly took notes during his hour-long stay at the meeting. But the judge did promise to get to the bottom of those concerns.
That was little consolation to some taxpayers.
"If he was going to come, he needed to remain here and stay here and hear the concerns of the people," Katrina Henry said.
For Pastor Steven Bland, his appearance is the beginning of a long conversation.
"His presence and this particular conversation starts by just being here," Bland said.
One of the big accomplishments was that the judge seemed to OK a forensic audit of the districts' contracts, something he had vehemently denied for weeks. Herman Davis, President Detroit Board of Education, says some people need to be indicted for billions of dollars that are missing.
"We want to know where the $2.5 billion in bond money went because we know some of it went in some folks pockets and some people need to be indicted," Davis said.
Is racism alive in the Detroit Public School system? That was the claim made by at least one taxpayer in attendance. Henry said she agrees that racism is alive in Detroit - and the country.
"Race is and has always been an issue in the United States of America. Always. " Henry said.
A question that still hangs in the air is what will the legislature do to save the school system? The state has to approve a lot of money for DPS and Telfor says, once that happens, the board will get to work.
"Number one, the board's power is restored and number two, we set about trying to repair all of the damage that has occured during emergency management " he said.