DETROIT (WWJ) – A lawsuit filed in federal court is putting the blame for the financial mess of the Detroit Public Schools and low academic achievement of students squarely on the state’s leader and state’s emergency manager law that were put in place.

A graphic outlines the dramatic financial shift within DPS on 17 years. (WWJ/Vickie Thomas)

A graphic outlines the dramatic financial shift within DPS on 17 years. (WWJ/Vickie Thomas)

(WWJ/Vickie Thomas)

(WWJ/Vickie Thomas)

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Attorney Tom Blakely representing the Detroit School Board and parents in the class action lawsuit targeting 33 people including Governor Rick Snyder and former Emergency Managers; Roy Roberts, Jack Martin and Darnell Earley.

“We hear all kinds of out-state politicians blaming what has happened here in Detroit on local publicly elected officials and the first part of my statement and the first part of this lawsuit will be to demonstrate unequivocally that that is not true,” said Blakely.

The 102 page lawsuit was filed Thursday and says the defendants, which also include recently charged current and former DPS principals, are responsible for destroying DPS and robbing children of a quality education.

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“Greater percentage of dropouts,” says Blakely. “Greater percentage of involvement with the criminal justice system – a greater percentage of not being able to get into college. At the present time, 97 percent of the Detroit high school students do not meet, upon graduation, the state minimum requirements for college and career readiness.”

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Blakely says the numbers speak volumes: In 1999 there was a surplus of $114 million in addition to a rainy day fund of $40 million. In 2016, DPS is facing a $3.5 billion deficit, with enrollment at roughly a quarter of what it was in 1999.