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Who’s the boss?


As mentioned previously, folks last week appeared before City Council to voice concerns about building an elementary school on a site contaminated with arsenic and other toxic material.

The hearing came down to this: What, if anything, can the council do about the project?

“Jurisdiction is the problem,” said Councilman Ken Cockrel Jr. With elected school board members replaced by appointees, just who has final say over the project is not clear. Is it Detroit Public Schools CEO Kenneth Burnley, appointed school board members or state officials to whom parents and the public register their complaints?

A draft resolution — written by Cockrel and scheduled to be voted on today — asks that the Board of Education convene a citizen review board that would, among other things, oversee the school construction and order full testing of the site’s soil. Cockrel wants the resolution sent to Burnley, the board, Gov. John Engler and the state Legislature.

Let’s just hope someone among this group has authority to consider the council’s requests.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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