Detroit Public School Community District to start school year with full staff for first time in 2 years

DETROIT – It’s a little earlier than the start of the school year for the state’s largest school district, but Detroit schools will start the year with full staff for the first time in a long time.

Teachers on Monday signaled students to start the following Monday and, for the first time in two years, COVID-19 will not take over all preparations and planning.

“It was pretty tough,” said mother Stephanie Vanpelt.

At a time when staffing is a problem across the country, the Detroit Public School Community District returns to school with all the necessary staff.

“It’s been a five-year process, and it started with increasing teachers’ salaries,” said Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti.

The district increased salaries across the board and added a competitive benefits package and the highest starting salary in Detroit Metroand he was able to attract staff.

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Additionally, using a portion of those COVID relief dollars, the district hired 170 new teachers last year, with 50% of its staff eligible to retire within the next three years.

Parents say their children are ready to return to class.

“It certainly helps to know that the schools are fully staffed,” Vanpelt said. “Without teachers, how can you educate children?”

Vanpelt has four children, ages five to 13, who are going to school this year after going through two years of COVID with shutdowns and changing protocols.

Vitti agrees that the district can stop worrying about overflowing water and get back to working on student success.

“We’re very excited about going into this year, and we’re not going to deal with COVID like we’ve done for the past two years,” Vitti said.

Vaccinations and masks are not compulsory.

Moreover, the district begins before Labor Daywhich will get them out earlier at the end of the school year.

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Vitti said the return extends the track to get students on board and get everyone where they need to be before count day, allowing them to finish the school year in early June versus late June.

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