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Detroit Public Schools Buildings: Are They a Go or No Go for Public Charter Schools?

Providing high quality educational options so that every child has an opportunity to learn is a core mission for the public charter school sector.  In cities like Detroit, the need for quality educational options is urgent.  For many years, state, local and community leaders have been sounding the alarm that public education in Motor City is in dire need of change.  Finally, this year, changes are occurring.  City leaders are turning the situation around by inviting national public charter school models to open schools in 2012 and beyond.

To assist this transformation, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies have partnered in an assessment study of the 50+ school buildings that Detroit Public Schools (DPS) have listed for sale or for lease.  Both parties believe that this study can be a catalyst for moving forward, since securing adequate and affordable facilities is a major challenge, and often, an impediment to the growth and success of the charter school movement.

Detroit Public Schools: Available Facilities Report is a high level viability study of the 54 available school buildings in DPS.  It is a resource for all public charter schools seeking facilities: those that are already operating in Detroit and national models looking to replicate in Detroit.  The report includes a profile of each building as well as a viability ranking on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most viable).  If a public charter school is interested in particular building, it can engage a more in-depth analysis of the building to determine the investment necessary to make it operational.

Ideally, state laws should require school districts to share unused buildings with public charter schools at minimal or low cost. And, in the absence of such laws, school districts should provide public charter schools access to unused buildings.  To learn about the innovative school districts that have affirmative policies and practices in sharing available public facilities to public charter schools, click here.