DPS corrects health and safety violations in its buildings, 91 percemt of Detroit Public School buildings are now up to city code
When school began last year, not a single Detroit Public School building was in compliance with Detroit health and safety codes. Today – just one week before the start of the new school year – 91 percent of all the district’s school buildings are in full compliance.
Over the past eight months, the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has worked closely with City health and safety inspectors to bring its schools up to code. DPSCD has spent $2.5 million on repairs so far. Today, all but eight of its 94 school buildings are in full compliance with city health and safety codes. The remaining 8 will be brought up to code this fall following extensive roof and other repairs.
All building and health inspection reports and certificates of compliance (when applicable) for each DPSCD school are posted on the City of Detroit website at www.detroitmi.gov.
“Parents should be able to send their children to school without worrying that their health and safety could be at risk. Detroit’s families deserve no less,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “I’d like to thank the leadership and facilities staff at DPSCD for making these repairs their highest priority over the past eight months and we will continue to work together to ensure our school buildings are up to code.”
Since January, The City of Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department and the Health Department conducted more than 400 inspections at DPSCD buildings.
Since the city and school district entered into a consent agreement in February, School and City officials met weekly to measure progress and ensure compliance.
“On the first day of school, Sept. 6, DPS Community District’s 97 schools in 94 buildings will be ready to begin our fresh start as a new school district,” said DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes. “During a very financially challenging time, our employees met the challenges of tackling critical building repairs. The work is not yet done, because we have some major roofing work and other costly repairs left to complete. However, District leadership is committed to finding the financial resources necessary to accomplish this work. We would like to thank the City of Detroit, as well as the many donors who stepped forward and the volunteers who helped make this happen. We will continue to engage the community and seek opportunities to enlist help as all of our buildings require on-going maintenance.”
“Facility readiness on the first day of school is important for our students, staff, families, and community,” said Alycia Meriweather, interim DPSCD superintendent. “Just as our buildings and staff are ready for Sep. 6, we want all students to prepare for a great school year by getting proper sleep, reading every day, and talking about goals and expectations for the new year.”
Major progress made, but some work remains
In order for a building to receive its certificate of compliance, it must be in full compliance with the City’s property maintenance code. The remaining eight schools that do not yet have their certificates of compliance require major roof work or other repairs, which are expected to begin in the next few weeks once contracts are awarded.
Those schools are:
Breithaupt Career and Technical
Detroit International Academy for Women
Emerson Elementary-Middle School
Mann Learning Community
Turning Point Academy
Water in Schools meet lead safety standards
During the summer, water at all DPS schools was tested for the presence of lead, thanks to a generous donation from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. Those tests showed that all but 21 schools tested below the EPA threshold for the presence of lead in water. At schools where lead levels were elevated, DPS staff worked with the Detroit Health Department to identify ways to lower the lead levels below EPA standards, including:
Regularly flushing the pipes (running the water) after weekends and school breaks
Isolating/removing water outlets with elevated levels
Developing a plumbing profile of the school (marking where samples were taken on a floor plan of the school) to identify places where pipes within the building may need replacing
Retesting the water after making corrections
Each of the 24 schools had submitted a remediation plan to the health department to ensure that lead levels remain safe.
City of Detroit health and safety inspectors will continue to inspect school buildings annually to ensure the buildings are kept up to code. If violations are found, school management will be made aware and given time to address the issue. Once any issues have been resolved, the City will issue a Certificate of Compliance good for another year.
Parents and educators are still encouraged to report any outstanding building concerns through the City’s website and the appropriate department will follow up with an inspection.