- Associated Press - Saturday, February 4, 2017

DETROIT (AP) - Mike Duggan wants a second four-year term as Detroit’s mayor, but first plans to fight any potential efforts by the state to shut down about two dozen academically underperforming public schools in the city.

Duggan, a Democrat, announced his re-election run Saturday before supporters and community members on Detroit’s east side.

The former head of the Detroit Medical Center was elected mayor in 2013 and took office in 2014. He campaigned on cleaning up the city’s blighted neighborhoods. With the help of millions of dollars in federal funds, he pushed a massive demolition program that resulted in the razing of more than 10,000 vacant houses.

On Saturday, Duggan said his focus in a second term would be to make Detroit a place where people would want to raise their families. One of the biggest obstacles for many families is the city’s struggling public schools.

The state said last month that 25 schools in Detroit are among 38 across Michigan failing to adequately teach students. Michigan law says the state can close schools that have been in the bottom 5 percent for at least three consecutive years if other forms of state intervention have not worked.

Detroit school leaders, parents and other critics have said that closing neighborhood schools would force many students to travel miles across the city to other schools or transfer to districts outside Detroit.

“Reform means first you work with the teachers in the school to raise that performance at that school,” Duggan said. “Second, you don’t close the school until you’ve created a quality alternative. Neither one of those has happened here.”

The nonpartisan mayoral primary is in August. The top two vote-getters move on to the November general election.

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