Detroit Uses Funds to Wrangle Superstar Schools Chief

Detroit Uses Funds to Wrangle Superstar Schools Chief

Detroit public schools are in trouble and city officials are sparing no expense to make things right.

Published August 31, 2011

In public schools, good help is hard to find these days. That's why Kansas City officials are furious that the city lost its school superintendent to Detroit, which is pulling out millions to snag school reform hopeful John Covington.

Covington had only been with the Kansas City school system for two years when Detroit lured him to the city for a new position with a new advisory board that will oversee reforms in the city’s struggling school system.

Covington will serve as chancellor of the new Education Achievement System that, officials hope, will rescue the school system, which has seen steady decreases in enrollment and a $327 million deficit. The system promises to give teachers greater autonomy, instate longer school days and years, and increase parental involvement.

“The new Education Achievement System will place great emphasis on community involvement in schools,” Roy S. Roberts, emergence manager for Detroit Public Schools, told “Parent Advisory Councils will be formed in each school.… As the school progresses in its improvement plan, the parent council will assume additional responsibilities supporting its school.”

Earlier this month the city announced that it will put 90 percent of the city’s funds into education and it seems like Covington’s recruitment is part of this plan. Covington’s starting salary is reported to be $225,000 for his first year with a $175,000 signing bonus.

According to the Detroit News, "Dr. Covington's salary will be covered through a 501c(3) entity with a mix of public dollars coupled with primarily foundation, individual and corporate donations," said Sara Wurfel, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder.

The job, which begins Sept. 26, also comes with an $800 monthly car allowance and  $10,000 in professional development funds.

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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