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Detroit Schools Are Back in the Hands of an Elected Board

Detroit's new school board members were sworn in this week—the first time since 2009 that an elected school board will oversee the district.

One of the board's first major task will be to choose a new superintendent for the 45,000-student school district, which has struggled financially and academically for years.

Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather has expressed interest in the job, according to the Detroit News.  Retired Judge Stephen Rhodes, who oversaw the city's bankruptcy case and was appointed Detroit schools' fifth state-appointed manager, left in December. 

Per the Detroit News, the new board members hail from a variety of backgrounds. They include a former superintendent, a hospital CEO, a former Wall Street investor, and a community relations director of UAW Ford.

The district also has a new name: Detroit Public Schools Community District. Despite the new moniker, the system still faces a host of lingering challenges, including high teacher vacancies and chronic absenteeism, the Detroit Free-Press reported.

The district, however, is on better financial footing, after receiving a $617 million financial rescue package from the state in June to help stave off financial disaster.

Although it is expected to end the school year with a surplus, the district's finances will continue to be overseen by the Detroit Financial Review Commission, which also oversees the city's finances, the Free-Press reported. 

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