Live reporting by Amelia Benavides-Colón
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In its first meeting of 2024, the board announced applications for the Library Commission are open through Feb. 29. The board approved three contracts totaling $188M for school buses. After a closed session the board approved several terminations and an employment recommendation.

Amelia Benavides-Colón @benavides_colon
hey hey Detroit! 🏙️
I'm covering tonight's Detroit Public Schools Community District Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. for @DetDocumenters 🩵
media partners: @media_outlier @BridgeDet313 @freep @PlanetDetroit @wdet @metrotimes @chalkbeatDET @MichiganRadio @wxyzdetroit

11:35 AM Jan 30, 2024 CST

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Who's DPCSD?
This locally elected, 7-member board represents the LARGEST education system in the state, with 106 schools and over 50,000 students.
👩🏽‍💻Note: today's meeting was originally scheduled for Jan. 16... and then rescheduled to Jan. 23....and again moved to today, Jan. 30
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Today's meeting will be held in person at East English Preparatory Academy at Finney High School, 5020 Cadieux
OR you can join virtually at this link:
OR watch live on DPSCD's website and social pages:…
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Some things to look out for in today's agenda:
- Closed session to discuss negotiations for collective bargaining agreements (which awarded teachers a raise last Sept.)
- A contract with Apple?
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Recent news on teacher salaries:…
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Okay the time is 5:31 p.m. and it looks like the Board is still making its way through the public comment period of the Organizational Board Meeting that was scheduled for today at 5 p.m.
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Still wrapping up the earlier meeting... hold tight folks
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It is 5:52 p.m. and the Regular Board meeting is being called to order
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Roll Call: there is a quorum present
*I didn't catch names
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Today's moment of silence is dedicated to 2 employees and 1 student
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First up is the Western International Color Guard performing the Star Spangled Banner and a performance by JRK Dance Company
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Today's agenda along with meeting minutes are approved. Moving to Chair Remarks
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Chair Remarks:
- The reason behind the cancellations this month was because of district-wide closures due to weather
- The next meeting is Feb. 14
- Progress is being made on the strategic plan and will be shared soon
- There will be in-person and virtual meeting regarding
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- There will be in-person and virtual meeting regarding the literacy lawsuit 2/2…
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Regarding the distribution food strike, students are still getting lunches with full variety of healthy options, said President Angelique Peterson-Mayberry.
She said social media is pushing an incorrect version of this story and no kids have gone without…
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Now for the student board members report:
- School bathrooms being locked during the day. Students report being limited to 1 bathroom with behavioral issues being the reasoning behind the closures. This is an example of consequences of action, said student members *name?*
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^ A possible solution to this could be to address behavior issues at the root of the problem
- Regarding the food shortage, Muslim students who only eat halal foods are reporting lack of options. Many report only weekly changes to meals…
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^ A solution is to expand contracts with Muslim food providers
*Apologies I lost audio on the end of the student presentation
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There's a question on the population of Muslim students and if a survey can be taken.
No demographics are taken but there is a suggestion to adding survey questions on this topic to beginning of the year handout materials
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There's a question for the students regarding how they chose which issues will be amplified at each meeting
The students explain they have a collaborative group chat with student representatives at all the schools and they work together to determine which 2 topics mean the most
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Now for the Finance Presentation:
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The city's rising property values is a good sign for DPSCD…
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And this concludes the finance report
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*I should've clarified earlier this presentation is led by Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Vidito
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And now for the Superintendent's report:
Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said today is dedicated to thanking and recognizing the Board for the work they do and the progress they've made (he bought everyone flowers along with a plaque in honor of their work)
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Photo op!
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Some district metrics:
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Enrollment is up 300 students since the fall count
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Daily attendance is at 83% - most of this lately is due to weather and chronic absenteeism is on a 3% decline from last year
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Of the bottom 30% of students, more than 60% of those students are showing growth midyear
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59% of all juniors and seniors are enrolled in 1 career tech class or are dual-enrolled in a college class
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61% of students are eating breakfast, an increase from last year
83% are eating lunch, another improvement and any shortages have been addressed with zero remaining concerns
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United Way will provide $2,000 per student across the tri-county area to send students to 5 weeks of K-8 summer school.
There was no way to use the literacy lawsuit money for summer school because it limits to only literacy learning
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This concludes the superintendent's report
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🚨 It's public comment time
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1: Started by giving credit to the student board members and encouraged them to hold strong to their beliefs. Wants to know how much is being spent on bus options for a specific group, CMA? She said DPSCD picked a school surrounded by blight to host students and parents.
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1: (continued) Also wants to know if the "cell phone tower money" will go back into the school system. Overall she's very discouraged with the board and is alleging specific members overlooking certain areas
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I think this is the cell phone tower money she was referring to:…
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2: Where is the $100M being held up in Lansing that is meant for DPSCD? She said public education is a right and there needs to be efforts made to ensure Black students have a right to literacy and education. She said the literacy lawsuit needs to be spread across the country
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2: (continued) Said she feels disengaged from the Board, "do you even know what I'm talking about?"
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3: Said his organization is responsible for donating hundreds of socks and underwear to students. Is a graduate of DPS schools himself and encourages the Board to continue inspiring students to be changemakers
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4: Said her student is not visibly Muslim, she doesn't wear a hijab and her school did not make efforts to accommodate her meals. Said she went from a PTA President to a DPSCD employer and the district gave her a voice. "If you knew me before COVID I didn't talk, I would just sit
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and not speak up... so I really want to thank you for that." Also wants to point out that her area only has two accessible high schools and wants to know what to do if her daughter has toa attend a further school.
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5: A commenter from earlier this evening is back to thank Dr. Vitti for addressing his concerns about students receiving a proper aviation education system. And wants to give kudos to all of today's student performers and representatives present today
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6: Another commentor repping Davis Aeorpapsce International High School - and wants to know if $50K can be dedicated to aerospace education
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7: Member of Detroiters for Tax Justice said board member Sonya Mays voted to approve the "transformation of health brownfield plan" that includes tax subsidy on DPSCD to go toward housing around Henry Ford Hospital. This is a clear conflict of interest.
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8: Wants to thank Dr. Vitti for shouting out the much-needed summer school program. She said her school has 4 vacancies. She wants other food vendors to be explored. And what is the plan for the Cass Tech High School football field?
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9: *cannot be heard*
10: *cannot be heard*
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11: *cannot be heard*
And this concludes public comment.
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Dr. Vitti would like to answer questions:
- Blight at the former CMA building will be addressed in partnership with the city and follow-up will be made on this
- Estimated transportation cost is $400K to shuttle students to the former CMA building
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- There are no plans to distribute the cell phone tower money. But more flex dollars are being allocated to schools, similar to the cell tower revenue being inquired about - it's unrestricted dollars.
- The literacy grant is $140 million coming from the state
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- The literacy grant is $140 million coming from the state - and the state sent a letter explaining displeasure with the funds being held up. He said they haven't received the eligibility to even apply for that funding, it's waiting on Michigan to release a district grant
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- Northwestern, Crocket, Cody, MLK and Finney will all offer sports medicine courses next year
- Davis Aerospace is offering a new aviation program this year
- Cass Tech's field will be included as a philanthropic initiative to switch the field from grass to turf and expand it
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- Vendor diversification is always a priority and if food is "atrocious" let Dr. Vitti know directly for it to be addressed
This concludes Dr. Vitti's questions/answers.
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Renaissance also offers a CNA program and internship opportunities at surround healthcare buildings
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Mays would like to respond to the conflict of interest allegations.
She is a developer but for a nonprofit org. She will make no money from the Henry Ford transfer. She would also challenge any concerns with the tax incentive program and that any money is being taken from DPSCD
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🚨🚨🚨 It is closed session time to discuss strategy connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.
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Closed sessions are periods where the Board is able to meet in privacy, away from the public, to discuss any matters that are sensitive or confidential.
Today's topic is collective bargaining, which includes teacher and union salaries - where negotiations are always confidential
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Grab a snack, take a stretch and I'll let you know when the meeting is called back to session 🫶🏽
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1 hour check-in. Still in closed session, once they come back we have to get through:
-Administrative Terminations
- Recommendations for Employment
- 9 contracts
- Announcements
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Members are trickling in!
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We are officially out of closed session 8:34 p.m.
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Under Personnel Actions:
We have 11 administrative terminations up for approval
And the report has been accepted unanimously with no discussion.
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11.02 is a recommendation from Dr. Vitti for employment of a candidate
They received an average weighted score of 76% and the Board is recommending them for hiring.
This motion has been approved unanimously without discussion
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Moving into the Consent Agenda we have nine contracts up for approval.
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12.01: is a 5-yr contract for yellow bus transportation services with 3 vendors for $188,030,566. If these contracts are not approved, the District will be out of compliance with state and federal law. Extending 1 of the 3 would lead to driver shortages and poor performance
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12.02: is a contract extension for fencing installation through for $4 million to replace damaged fencing and fates, install new fencing and repair damaged/vandalized fences throughout the district. If not approved, play/athletic areas will be out of compliance and unsafe
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12.03: is a contract amendment and increase with Plante Moran Realpoint for consultation on the Master Plan through Nov. 2029 for $24K for a total of $13,156,792. Under the Plan: renovations coming to Fleming, Hancock, Asbury Park & future PK expansion along with 4 building demos
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12.04: is a cooperative purchasing agreement to purchase document cameras & SMART-brand interactive tech, licenses and accessories in the amount of $2,556,620. The contract includes 400 interactive panels & document cameras and licenses for enhanced teacher training & services
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12.05: is a contract for student laptops & carts for $4,286,340. In 2021-22 DPSCD purchased 39K laptops with 3-yr warranty on damages (but not lost, stolen) There is a 5-10% loss of devices for the 2023-24 year which this contract will fill to ensure the 1:1 student-device ratio
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12.06: is a contract with Apple for tech devices and accessories in the amount of $1,719,854. In 2021-22 DPSCD purchased iPads for all PK-2 students and all ESE students PK-12 (with a 3-yr protection plan on damages but not losses). DPSCD projects a 5-10% loss for the 2023-24 yr
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12.07: is a contract for Pre-K furniture, materials & delivery service for $1,042,798. In 2022, DPSCD approved a 5yr Pre-K expansion plan to add 1,264 Pre-K seats in addition to 27 new Pre-K classrooms at 25 schools with an additional 40-50 new classrooms over the next 3 yrs
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12.08: is a contract renewal to provide biennial physical inventory for $400K. This contract would authorize an assessment inventory, which is required every 2 years - DPSCD has made major changes since the last assessment adding IT hardware and vehicles for various departments
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12.09: approves the procure of Police, School Board Legal & General Liability Insurance Policies for $1,375,000. These policies include coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury in addition to DPD police offers and professional liability coverage for DPSCD
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ALL of the contracts were approved unanimously without discussion.
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-Students' report cards went home today, parents check those backpacks!
-The time has come for Library Commission appointment, this is a 6-yr commitment and interested individuals can reach out to DPSCD. The app. period closes 2/29
-District is closed Feb. 19-23
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- A parent listening session is Feb. 6
- the faith-based meeting is Feb. 12
- the next Board meeting is Feb. 13
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This concludes the announcements.
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And there is a motion to adjourn at 8:42 p.m.
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This concludes my coverage of the Detroit Public School Community District Regular Board Meeting on January 30, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. for #DETDocumenters
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You can find more of our coverage at: