arnell Earley, the controversial state-appointed emergency manager overseeing Detroit Public Schools and the former emergency manager of Flint who approved the city’s switch from using Detroit’s water supply to lead-tainted water from the Flint River, is stepping down from the DPS post.
Gov. Rick Snyder announces Earley’s pending departure in a news release on the state’s website today and plans to appoint a “transition leader” to manage DPS’ finances and academics. “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.
“A very good job” is debatable. Though Earley is the fourth emergency manager in nearly a decade – a timeline that starts in 2009 with Robert Bobb, followed by Roy Roberts and Jack Martin – it was under Earley’s oversight that deplorable conditions in DPS, ranging from mold to boiler problems, came to national attention. Earley’s ties to the Flint water crisis obviously hadn’t helped matters, either.
Amidst Earley stepping down is Snyder’s proposal to dissolve DPS in its current state and reform the district as Detroit Community Schools. DPS is currently $515 million in debt; Snyder is proposing a two-bill plan that would create an interim board of education – state-appointed – to manage the new district and hire an interim superintendent.
Should the two bills pass the Michigan legislature, Detroit voters would elect a board of education to be seated in January 2017.