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Darnell Earley, current DPS EM, ex-Flint EM, to step down

Detroit Public Schools

The controversial emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools will step down at the end of this month, Gov. Snyder’s office announced Tuesday.

Snyder faced growing pressure to get rid of Darnell Earley.

Calls for Earley’s resignation as head of DPS reached a fever pitch in the past several weeks, as teachers staged sick-out protests over the district’s crumbling buildings and finances, and the Detroit Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit demanding his removal.

Earley was also Flint’s emergency manager when it made the disastrous switch to drawing its drinking water from the Flint River.  (Several other Flint emergency managers before him were involved in the decision to switch, however.)

He’s been called to testify before a Congressional committee on the Flint water crisis this week.

However, Earley also announced Tuesday that he will refuse to testify at that hearing. The governor’s office would not immediately respond to questions about the refusal.

In a statement, Gov. Snyder said: “Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances.”

Snyder went on to say he would appoint a “transitional leader” for Detroit Public Schools, after Earley steps down Feb. 29.

In the meantime, Snyder said the focus will be on legislative efforts to restructure the school district, which will be “virtually insolvent” by April without an infusion of state aid.

Hearings on bills that reflect Snyder’s bankruptcy-style restructuring plan start in Lansing later this week.

Testifying before a Senate Education committee Tuesday, Detroit state representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo says Earley shouldn’t escape accountability for the current state of the schools.

“And not just him, because we’re making him the fall guy right now,” Gay-Dagnogo said. “It’s our governor, and four other emergency managers that have helped to plummet our district.”

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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