Monday, August 27, 2012

A letter to DPS staff


 *I don't have a lot of confidence that this memo was distributed as it should have been. So far it's been a real tug-of-war between me and EM Roy Roberts getting him to acknowledge and accept my role in the administration. Anyway, for those of you who would like to know, here is the letter that should have been distributed to all DPS staff from me last week.

                                   Office of the

To: All DPS Staff

From: Dr. John Telford, Superintendent/Academics

Date: August 23, 2012

Subject: General Announcement

As school is about to open, it has been no secret that the Emergency Financial Manager on one side and the duly elected and recently re-empowered Board of Education and the Superintendent on the other have been frequently entangled in lavishly publicized legal and political wrangling over which one of us—Roy  Roberts as EFM, or I as Superintendent of Academics—has authority  over which DPS departments.  These disagreements have now even extended again to whether the two of us have joint administrative authority over all physical facilities—specifically including school buildings.  Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John Murphy has put me in charge of all things academic, and he has put Mr. Roberts in charge of all things financial.  The Judge ordered me and Mr. Roberts to collaborate and administer Detroit Public Schools in the best interest of our students, and this is exactly what I for my part have been trying very hard to do, and this is what I intend to continue to do.  I expect all schools to open on time and to open appropriately staffed, and I expect the Division of Instruction’s academic plan will be followed to the letter in all classrooms.   

Accordingly, all of the following will be promptly forwarded to Judge John Murphy for his review and approval: In compliance with the Hon. John Murphy’s ruling, it must now remain my legal (as well as logical) expectation that all academic administrative personnel are to report exclusively to me.  These personnel specifically include Dr. Karen Ridgeway, Mr. Doug Ross, and any and all academic administrators over whom they have direct or indirect oversight.  Thus, the staff who occupy the cited positions include all of the assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, subject-area coordinators and supervisors, the district athletic director, security and attendance staff, parent/community liaison, etc.  The Board of Education has now directed me to inform all DPS staff that either the Board members or I will be the only individuals to correspond and interact with the Emergency Financial Manager (with the exception of staff whose job descriptions are clearly financial).  The Board and I are the exclusive conduit between the office of Emergency Financial Manager and all instructional or instruction-related personnel.  Some departments—to include but not to be limited to H-R, Communications, General Counsel, Facilities, and IT—will have dual reportage to the EFM and to me.  However, it is noted here that all employees should feel free to contact the office of the Inspector General if they observe any waste, fraud, or abuse within the district. 

Let me emphasize that we do not wish to distract the Emergency Financial Manager from his foremost role and responsibility of rectifying the financial emergency.  I trust that Mr. Roberts is continuing to work very hard to eliminate the deficit, and I have begun to work just as hard administrating the academic side of the house.  I intend to meet with every principal and be in every DPS school within the months to come.  Let us put any and all of our differences aside and join hands now in total unity to ensure the successful opening of school on September 4, and let us all continue to focus entirely upon offering the very best education to our children.           

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