- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

DETROIT (AP) - Two dozen Detroit schools slated for closure will remain open for at least three more years under an agreement between the state and the Detroit Board of Education.

The agreement with the Michigan Department of Education and the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency was unanimously approved Thursday.

The deal allows the schools to remain open as school officials try to increase performance through partnerships with local universities, unions, businesses and community leaders. The agreement also enables the local school board to control the future of the schools.

“We’re on the road and journey to excellence,” Board President Iris Taylor said. “We will not have any external body close any school in the Detroit Public School district. This is a great day for us.”

The 24 schools were among 38 schools listed for closure by the state in January. The Education Department said all the selected schools performed in the bottom 5 percent for at least three consecutive years.

The prospect of school closings spurred several protests and town hall meetings.

“I said from the beginning that closed schools never improve,” said Alycia Meriweather, interim superintendent for Detroit Public Schools. “The idea of closing a school to move toward improvement is illogical.”

As part of the agreement, the district will need to develop a profile for each school that includes performance data by June 30. It will then need to establish districtwide expectations, as well as goals and strategies, by the end of July.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston said the agreement holds promise for the students, educators and the city.

“We will work together to make sure you stay on course and provide support when and where it is needed.”

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