Detroit schools report first growth in 15 years, $11M growth

In Detroit, enrollment numbers are up in the public school system and it's giving the district and $11 million budget boost. But the superintendent says this is only the beginning.

For the first time in 15 years, the school district for the City of Detroit announces an increase in student enrollment. For parents like Latonya Peterson it's a breath of fresh air.

"I'm happy they brought students back, but now that you've got them back, how are you going to keep them in the district," Peterson said.

After the two week count day last year, the DPSCD recorded roughly 45,500 students. This year - that number is up to 50,100 students. Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says fewer students are leaving the district, and more are coming back from the suburbs and charter schools. That equals almost $11 million back into public schools.

"You're going to see all students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence," Dr. Vitti said. 

Dr. Vitti didn't fully go into a step by step process, but still laid out his three year vision for the classrooms. One point he made was deciding where the money is being spent.

"Making hard and difficult decisions, using a finite amount of resources to have the greatest at scale impact of over now 50,000 students in our district," Dr. Vitti said.

As the schools grow in numbers, Peterson says she's still seeing overcrowded classrooms and fewer teachers.

"I would like to see teachers actually in the room, in the classroom - not substitute teachers," she said. 

A student says the extra money could be put to good use by fixing the essentials.

"Our books. They are like falling apart. My AP government book is just like trash. We need new books and other schools do too."

The teachers union president, Ivy Bailey says the district needs to focus on the teachers - both taking care of the current ones and bringing more into the city.

"For most of them, it's a money issue. Some of the teachers from EA did not come over to the Detroit Public School Community District. It's because they were losing money out of their salary. On the other hand, you have teachers who have been here and we have to look out after them. We have to take care of the people who have been here and who have stayed through all of the hardship," Bailey said.