Performance is up as Detroit schools emerge from state control, federal oversight

Superintendent of Detroit Schools Dr. Nikolai Vitti is three years into his position at the district which is coming out of federal oversight for the first time in years.

Vitti spoke about the work he and the school board have done to improve test scores, and student performance and getting enrollment to spike.

"The time now is for the state to step aside and let us have autonomy and continue to build on the momentum we've created," said Vitti. "When you look at our enrollment last year in the fall and now this year, we are up 700 students."

Hundreds more are sending their kids to the district while things get better both in money management and student performance.

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"I think we have to continue to expand programming, we've done that with restoring art, music, PE across the district," Vitti said. "I think our high schools have to improve with stronger of career academy focuses so we are giving students a springboard to college or the world of work."

A huge piece that the district is revealing today, improving the mental health of students who need counseling.  Five million dollars’ worth of grants are hitting the hallways of Detroit schools to make sure all kids have a level playing field.

"I'm not going to do this interview and say our kids can't learn because of this or I'm not going to say our kids can't be successful," Vitti said. "I am going to say, this is a barrier and this is a problem but we are not going to stay at the problem.

"We are going to move into a solution so that we are going to freedom power our children of the condition that exists so that they can reach their academic and civic potential."

So while the mental health piece starts to be addressed for those who are suffering, the fiscal health is looking better and opening new doors. With three years of a balanced budget. They now have the money to start fixing up what's broken in their buildings.

By the beginning of 2020 Vitti hopes that Detroit schools are removed from the state's oversight-allowing the district to approve big ticket contracts and collective bargaining agreements without permission from the state.

"We are now in a position to request that financial review commission, state oversight be reduced for Detroit," Vitti said. "And it will be the first time that that would happen in years, and that our school board and myself will have full autonomy over the budget and not require that budget to be approved and reviewed by the FRC."