In response to mass teacher sick-outs, the city of Detroit has conducted 11 public school inspections which are the first of a district-wide review. The results included multiple instances of rodents, mold, roof damage, and broken glass, which are all code violations, reports Joe Guillen for the Detroit Free Press.
Inspectors found 152 violations, averaging almost 14 per school. School officials have been given approximately one month to make the necessary repairs. The building with the largest number of violations so far is Cody-Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School with 30 citations.
Problems at this high school included mold and mildew in two classrooms, insects and rodents on the campus, a broken sink in a boys’ bathroom, and a water-damaged ceiling in the gym. Inspectors announced that repairs were required for the roof through the entire building “to abate the elements.”
Benjamin Carson High School had 17 violations, including stained and missing ceiling tiles, a broken elevator, broken light switches, and a storage room vulnerable to water leaks.
If repairs are not completed in an acceptable amount of time, Mayor Mike Duggan said the city will take legal action to enforce the repairs to be performed.
“I don’t want there to be any confusion,” Duggan said in a statement. “A claim of a shortage of funds is not a defense to violations of building or health codes for any building owner. We’re not going to allow our children, DPS employees, or the public to continue to be subjected to substandard conditions.”
As the Detroit Public School District has accrued a $515 million debt, building conditions have decayed. The district is obligated to pay for the repairs.
By the end of the month, 20 DPS buildings with the most problems areto be inspected. All 97 of the school buildings in the district will be finished by the end of April, said the mayor’s office. If the city receives complaints about any charter schools or schools overseen by the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA), those schools will also be inspected. The EEA is the governing body of the Education Achievement System (EAS), a statewide system for failing schools.
Mayor Duggan explained that school officials were being given a reasonable amount of time to correct the deficiencies and legal action would ensue if they did not.
DPS spokesperson Michelle Zdrodowski stated that the district would cooperate with the city and that DPS will meet with the Detroit Department of Licensing and Regulations to develop an overall plan that will rectify all issues and assure that health and safety guidelines are followed, reports WXYZ-TV Detroit.
The city’s Building, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department’s interim director, David Bell, has been given the job of coordinating the inspections, writes CBS-TV Detroit. He said that like any other property owners, DPS was going to be held responsible for compliance within the time given. He said the department would allow an extension for valid reasons.
Other issues found during the inspections included bathroom doors that did not close and boilers that were broken, writes Kate Wells of Michigan Public Radio.