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Court agreement lets East Detroit CEO start work on a limited basis

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Michigan is lagging behind when it comes to student achievement.

The CEO appointed by the state to take over four low-performing East Detroit schools can start working, but with some limits.

Under an agreement in court Thursday, CEO Gary Jensen can act as a consultant in the district, but he doesn't have authority over decisions on academics, curriculum or finances.

The state's decision to hire a CEO has faced months of backlash from teachers and administrators in East Detroit schools, who say they're already working to turn things around in the struggling district.

"East Detroit Board of Education, staff and our Macomb Intermediate School District partners have met the challenges of the district through research-based plans and processes. We are very pleased that a CEO will not be able to disrupt these plans," said EDPS superintendent Ryan McLeod, in a statement.

Caleb Buhs with the state Department of Management, Technology and Budget says the state's agreement with EDPS is "a step in the right direction."

"Ultimately though, we do look forward to resolving all of these court proceedings so that [Jensen] can have the full set of tools available to him by state law," Buhs said.

The district sued the State School Reform Office over Jensen's appointment in May. That case is still pending in the Michigan Court of Claims.

Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition at Michigan Radio. She also co-hosts Michigan Radio’s weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.
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