DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s official: state-appointed Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley will resign.
Earley notified Gov. Rick Snyder of his decision Tuesday and says he completed work ahead of his 18-month schedule.READ MORE: Detroit Community Leaders Break Ground On New Community Center In Jefferson Chalmers
The governor’s office confirmed Earley will leaving his post by the end of the month.
“Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances. I want to thank him for his professionalism and his service to the people of Michigan,” Snyder said, in a media release. “He restructured a heavily bureaucratic central office, set in place operating and cost-containment measures, and has taken steps to stabilize enrollment. These factors should all set the course for a sustainable, new Detroit Community Schools, as I have proposed.”
The governor is pushing the Michigan Legislature to provide state funding to address the district’s $515 million operating debt and help transition the district back to some form of local control. It has been under emergency management for nearly seven years.
WWJ’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said Earley’s early exit had been in the works for a while.
“I had a key administration source, about two weeks ago, suggest to me that the administration was finding a way to kind of smooth this thing over, to basically ease him out of his job as he was apparently a part of the ability of the Democrats to say, Governor, we really don’t want to help you on the Detroit schools situation as long as Mr. Earley is around,” said Skubick.
“Well that kind of message resounds loud and clear with members of the administration who, on Thursday, will begin their legislative push.”
Skubick said, with Earley out of the way, the governor’s office believes it may have a better shot at getting Snyder’s plan passed.
One of teachers’ major complaints as been the condition of school buildings, with mold, fungus and dead mice reported.READ MORE: AAA: Michigan's Average Gas Price Continues To Rise, 1 Cent Below National
Snyder on Tuesday acknowledged that “the district still faces challenges with some of its buildings,” asserting that his plan for Detroit schools includes a budget necessary to maintain the schools as well as repair the well documented conditions of a few of them.
“I urge our legislature to move as fast as possible so we can give Detroit students and teachers the learning environment they deserve,” Snyder said.
In the wake of several DPS teacher sickouts, Earley last month said it’s clear that teachers are feeling frustrated over the challenges they face, but he stressed at the time that skipping work is not the way to get the support needed to address the issues.
He called the sickouts “misguided.”
Those who haven’t been following the Detroit schools story may still recognize Earley’s name attached to another news headline. Earley was the Emergency Manager in Flint in 2014 when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a cost-cutting move — setting off a lead-in-the-water crisis.
Earley was supposed to testify before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, but reports say he declined the invitation.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich said, sincethe governor has claimed he will be transparent, Earley’s testimony is therefore required.
“He’s still employed by the governor, so the governor can, and I think must, compel him to testify,” Ananich said. “The citizens of Flint, state taxpayers, this entire state have a right to know what he knew, what he was a part of.”
Ananich questions the timing of Earley’s departure.
“Right before he was going to testify before congress he tries to resign. It’s a little suspicious,” Ananich said.MORE NEWS: Ethan Crumbley To Remain In Oakland County Jail, Judge Orders