Teachers, parents file lawsuit against Detroit schools

- For weeks, teachers have been protesting conditions at Detroit Public Schools and on Thursday, the Detroit Federation of Teachers took their fight to the court by suing Detroit Public Schools.

The lawsuit was the 'major announcement' promised by the teachers union during a press conference on Thursday. The lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and parents is an attempt to get the classrooms up to code.

It would also create a capital fund to improve the classroom and remove emergency manager, Darnell Early. Robert Fetter is the attorney for unions and parents and says the conditions that the schools are in is deplorable.

"The rooms too hot (or) they're freezing cold, they have rats and mice and cockroaches and mold, its disgusting," Fetter said.

Earlier this week, the city released an inspection report on 11 different schools, including Cody High School which had 30. Shoniqua Kemp says her children have needed breathing treatments after school

"There have been times where we have needed to go to the doctor afterwards to do some breathing treatments and things in that nature," Kemp said.

As for the capital fund to fix the classrooms, the Mayor is working on that and the teachers union really have no costs estimates at this time, but the need is there. Detroit Federation of Teachers interim President Ivy Bailey said the patchwork fixes haven't worked and the problems need to be fixed, right.

"This is just a bandaid. why can't we just clear all this off, clear it out and let's do the job right," Bailey said.

DPS issued a statement saying the issue of disrepair in some of the district's buildings is before the Legislature. "We are committed to ensuring that our students and staff have a safe working and learning environment."

The teachers said they just couldn't wait any longer to make their voices heard.

In response to the lawsuit, Early released this statement late Thursday:

"Approximately one year ago, I accepted the Governor's appointment as Emergency Manager for Detroit Public Schools with the clear goal of being the last Emergency Manager appointed to DPS. The focus of my work has been on preparing DPS for long-term financial sustainability and a return to some form of local control. My team and I have worked hard to develop and implement a comprehensive restructuring plan that has taken a financially broken educational system and transformed it into one that, but for its long-term debt, has eliminated it structural budget deficit. This is evident from the District's FY2015 audit report, which documents the fact that if the annual $56 million in debt payments were resolved, the District would be able to operate within its projected revenues. That is the role of an Emergency Manager. We have achieved that objective, and now it is critical that the Michigan legislature invest the critically necessary funds in the new Detroit Public School system that have been proposed in Gov. Snyder's education reform plan.

The issue of the disrepair of some of the District's buildings and a plan to address that is before the legislature. The investment of these funds will be necessary to implement a badly needed, districtwide long-term capital improvement plan. Meanwhile, we continue to address those matters that have been presented in the inspection reports from the City, and have been made aware of through our work order system, through a corrective action plan that provides available resources for these repairs. We are committed to ensuring that our students and staff have a safe working and learning environment, and that is a part of the discussion regarding the critical financial investment into the new Detroit Public School System that is before the Michigan legislature."

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