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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Sources: Flint’s outgoing EM to head Detroit Public Schools

Gov. Rick Snyder will tap someone who is leading one city from deficit to local control to be the next leader for the Detroit Public Schools.

Snyder intends to appoint Darnell Earley, current emergency manager of Flint, to replace outgoing DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, two sources with knowledge of the choice told Bridge on Monday.

Dave Murray, spokesman for the governor, declined to confirm Earley’s appointment, saying only that “a strong public school district is an important part of Detroit’s comeback.”

“The governor continues to look at options for the Detroit Public Schools as he works with groups convened by the Skillman Foundation to move forward with vital community discussions about a long-term plan to help students and families in the city,” Murray said in an email to Bridge.

Earley could not be reached Monday.

Martin's appointment reaches the 18-month mark on Friday, which is the unofficial end of his term because by law the Detroit school board could vote him out on that day. Earley will be the fourth state-appointed manager for the district since 2009 and the tenth leader for DPS since 1999.

Earley, former city manager in Saginaw and former city administrator in Flint, was appointed Flint’s emergency manager in 2013. His appointment is scheduled to end in April. Last month, he told Michigan Radio that most of the "heavy lifting" to put Flint's finances on course was done. He appointed a new city manager for Flint last month in preparation to return the city to local control.

DPS has a deficit of about $170 million as of December – down about half from what it was in 2009 - after nearly six years of emergency management. After fixing the finances, an emergency manager should involve locally elected officials in the transition to local control to increase the chances deficits will not recur, Earley told Bridge last summer.

The DPS leadership change comes a month after the announcement that a 31-member Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren was selected to come up with recommendations for fixing DPS’ finances, governance and academics.

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