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Detroit's Friends School, only Quaker school in Michigan, closes – for now

Friends School Detroit
via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.

But many remain committed to reviving the school, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

“We may have to delay that for a year, but I think there are plenty of people who are going to be working to make sure this isn’t the end of the road,” said Brandy Robinson, a parent of three Friends students.

Robinson says there’s an intense commitment to maintaining the school and its “unique” mission and culture within the larger Detroit community.

Board member Jane Fran Morgan said the school had been dogged by a combination of enrollment, debt, and building repair issues for a few years.

She said the board struggled throughout the summer to keep the school going, but it became apparent this week that the upcoming year’s budget just wasn’t going to work.

Morgan said the board will remain “engaged” with parents, donors, and the larger community over the next year, in the hope of restructuring and eventually reopening the school.

“It buys us some time to get some repairs made to the building, to do the outreach and marketing that needs to be done,” Morgan said.

“I promise to do everything humanly possible to keep this school here. The city needs it, the children deserve it.”

The school was founded in 1965 by the family of former federal judge and U.S. solicitor general Wade McCree Jr. after their eldest daughter was turned away from her first day at a Detroit private school because she was African American.

The family and supporters approached the Quaker community about founding a school that would be open to children of all races, ethnicities, and walks of life.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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