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Detroit Public Schools issues progress report on building repairs

Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools says it has begun fixing violations found during city inspections.

Teachers with Detroit Public Schools held sickouts in recent weeks to call attention to the deplorable condition of many of the buildings.

"We're doing the best that we can with the resources that we have, and we are honestly committed to  working towards resolving the issues that are on the inspection reports from the city of Detroit," said DPS spokeswoman, Michelle Zdrodowski.

Broken windows, peeling paint and water-damaged ceiling tiles are among the problems demanding attention. But Zdrodowski says there are more things to fix than the district can do on its own, and life and safety matters are first priority.

"There are a number of things right now that we just don't have the financing to do," she said.

The district is currently facing $50 million in immediate maintenance and capital repairs, Zdrodowski says.

Protocols are being made to improve the conditions in the classrooms, including having teachers remove personal appliances like toasters, microwaves and mini-refrigerators.

"Those things can create hazardous conditions and actually draw insects and mice," Zdrodowski said.

A facilities master plan will be complete by the end of February that will detail conditions and identify where all capital investments must be made. The district is also partnering with the DPS Foundation to launch a fund that will accept donations to be used to address the district's facility maintenance and repair issues.

"Given our financial problems, and the depth and breadth of the issues that are out there, we've done everything that we can do and we will continue to use the limited resources that we have available to make those repairs," Zdrodowski said.

The district is also awaiting action from lawmakers.

"We're really looking to Lansing and the Michigan Legislature to act soon on the education reform plan from Governor Snyder that's before it right now," she said.

Beginning this week, a weekly update on the progress DPS is making will be available on www.detroitk12.org.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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