DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Things are looking up for the state of education in Detroit as Michigan is easing up on its financial oversight of the city’s public school district.

The district has struggled financially for years but its “high-risk status” has been dropped by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

The change announced Monday means Detroit schools no longer need to have its School Improvement plans approved by the MDE. That now becomes the district’s responsibility.

The district says it also gets more discretion over spending.

“This recognizes the sustained actions taken by Emergency Managers Robert Bobb, Roy Roberts, and now Jack Martin, with the cooperation of labor, for the systemic changes instituted over the past five years to help get the district on firmer ground financially and with their academic programs,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan in a statement.

Michigan labeled Detroit schools as high risk after the federal government in 2008 raised questions about $53 million in spending. Those issues have been resolved.

State-appointed emergency manager Jack Martin still will run the district.

Michigan says it will continue monitoring the district’s financial performance.

“Removal from federal high risk status is further evidence of DPS’ growing stabilization as a district, and will offer us greater access to both private and public funds to assist us as we continue to implement our five-year strategic plan,” Martin said.

Improvements in academic performance, enrollment and now financial reporting signal a new day at DPS. We are committed to adhering to the new policies and procedures put into place and to continuing to strengthen our relationship with MDE.”

Detroit has 49,000 students, a drop of about 2 percent over last year but a smaller decrease than previous years.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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