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Departed Detroit Schools Leader Negotiated $83K Payout Before Resigning

The state of Michigan will pay former Detroit schools emergency manager Darnell Earley almost $83,000 as part of an agreement he negotiated with Gov. Rick Snyder's office, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Under the agreement, Earley will make himself available to the district and state government through mid-July. Earley was expected to remain in the role until June, but he resigned in February.

The Free Press reports that $82,862.90 is the total amount of Earley's payout and that he negotiated the deal in the days before announcing his resignation. The financially strapped district could face bankruptcy before the end of April.

Earley became the fourth emergency manager of the Detroit schools in January 2015 under a $225,000 annual contract, but things began to go south quickly.

Earley encountered mounting criticism in the role, with teachers staging coordinated sick-outs in December and January to protest the district's decaying buildings, large class sizes, and declining pay and benefits. The Detroit Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit seeking his removal.

Earley also faced public scrutiny for being the emergency manager in Flint when the city temporarily switched water sources, a move that ultimately led to the lead-contaminated water crisis there. In fact, Gov. Snyder and Earley will testify before Congress on March 15 about their knowledge of the Flint water crisis.

With Earley's departure, retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is the district's new state-appointed manager. Acknowledging that he has no prior experience in education, Rhodes plans to hire a superintendent to run the district's schools.

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