Detroit Schools’ Darnell Earley Resigns; FBI Involved in Investigating Flint
The latest emergency manager over the dilapidated Detroit Public Schools, Darnell Earley, resigned on February 02, 2016, according to this bulletin from the Detroit Free Press:
Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Darnell Earley, facing an onslaught of criticism over dilapidated schools and his role in the Flint water crisis, announced Tuesday that he’s leaving his job Feb. 29.
Gov. Rick Snyder said he will appoint a transition leader by the end of the month.
The surprise announcement came just two days before a Senate committee hearing on controversial legislation to bring changes to the 46,000-student district. It also heightened some officials’ concerns about the district’s stability.
Earley, 64, has led DPS since January 2015. He was expected to stay with the district until June under an 18-month time frame outlined in the state’s emergency manager law. But some lawmakers viewed his presence as a barrier to moving forward with pending legislation that would create a debt-free DPS.
In his resignation letter and in a news release from the governor’s office, Earley said he helped strengthen the district’s finances.
“When I was appointed to this position, Gov. Snyder and I agreed that our goal was for me to be the last emergency manager appointed to DPS,” he said in the news release. “I have completed the comprehensive restructuring necessary to downsizing the central office, and the development of a network structure that empowers the educational leadership of our schools to direct more resources toward classroom instruction.” …
Earley was the emergency manager of Flint before coming to DPS. He was in charge when the city left the Detroit water system and decided to draw water from the Flint River, a move that ultimately led to the water crisis there. …
DPS is expected to end this school year with a $335-million accumulated deficit, up from $216 million at the end of 2014-15. The district’s total debt is estimated at $3.5 billion. Officials have said DPS could run out of cash in April.
And here is a noteworthy tidbit:
Earley refused to testify during a scheduled hearing before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on the Flint water crisis.
“The most important thing that happened with this resignation, he’s an employee of the state until Feb. 29,” Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said. “I think he should be compelled by his boss to go testify and make sure he gives answers about what happened in Flint.”
As another February 02, 2016, Detroit Free Press article notes, the FBI is now involved in investigating the Flint water contamination crisis:
Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Free Press Monday that federal prosecutors are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, EPA’s office of inspector general, and EPA’s criminal investigation division.” …
Jill Washburn, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit, confirmed Tuesday the FBI is involved in the investigation but would not say when that involvement began. “Our role is to determine whether or not there have been federal violations,” Washburn said.
The disclosure of the FBI’s involvement in the investigation comes as the U.S. House Oversight Committee prepares to hold its first hearing on the issue Wednesday, amid reports that former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley will decline to testify.
Earley is now emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, but Gov. Rick Snyder’s office announced Tuesday that Earley has notified the governor he will be stepping down, effective Feb. 29.
Looks like Earley has some ‘splainin’ to do, and he’s trying hard not to.