© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Controversial Emergency Manager Of Detroit's Public Schools Resigns

In this Sept. 11, 2013 photo, Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley appears at a news conference in Flint, Mich. Earley was in charge of both the city of Flint and the schools at key points in their recent turmoil.
Zack Wittman
The Flint Journal/MLive.com via AP

A Michigan emergency manager tied to two major controversies has resigned from his current post running Detroit's public school district.

Darnell Earley has faced escalating criticism over poor conditions in Detroit schools. Before that, he ran the troubled city of Flint. As Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports:

"He carried out the now-infamous decision to use the Flint River as a temporary source of drinking water for the city. The untreated corrosive river water caused lead to leach from old pipes into the drinking water.

"[Michigan Gov. Rick] Snyder does not intend to appoint another emergency manager to run the school district. Instead, he will name a transition leader while he works with the Legislature to come up with a bailout plan for the school district, which is nearing insolvency."

Earley plans to leave his position by the end of the month, the governor's office says.

"Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances," Snyder says in a statement. "He restructured a heavily bureaucratic central office, set in place operating and cost-containment measures, and has taken steps to stabilize enrollment."

Detroit teachers have recently protested poor school conditions by calling in sick en masse. "The teachers say they are protesting classroom overcrowding, mold in classrooms, collapsing ceilings and dilapidated buildings," as the Two-Way previously reported.

Earley has criticized these protests, saying they amount to "using students as pawns to advance a political decision," Michigan Radio says.

When Earley was appointed to run Detroit schools last January, Michigan Radio reported that the school board was furious. "[The school board] and other critics maintain that conditions in DPS schools have only gotten worse under emergency management, while leaving parents, teachers and community members marginalized," the member station says.

Earley was emergency manager for Flint from September 2013 to January 2015. He did not lay the initial groundwork for the now-notorious decision to switch the city's water source to the Flint River and insists that he is not to blame for the repercussions.

The decision was implemented during his time managing Flint.

As The New York Times reports, the use of emergency managers in Michigan has come under scrutiny: "Public outrage over the tainted water in Flint and the decrepit schools in Detroit has led many people to question whether the state has overreached in imposing too many emergency managers in largely black jurisdictions."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.