Detroit’s education system is experiencing financial hurdles and may not be able to pay faculty members after April 8. Steven Rhodes, an emergency manager, shared that if lawmakers don’t pass legislation to help tackle the school district’s debt in the near future, they won’t be able to make payroll. “We can pay employees for the work they do through April 8, but not after that. … I cannot, in good conscience, ask teachers to work after April 8 knowing that I can’t pay them when their paychecks are due two weeks later,” said Rhodes in a statement. “There is no plan B, because we can’t print money.” Superintendent Alycia Meriweather and Rhodes have brought the issue to the state House Appropriations Committee. The Michigan legislature will possibly implement laws to overcome the debt crisis and revamp the school system, which has been overseen by the state since 2009. The school system is over $3 billion in debt and has an operating debt of $515 million. Many Detroit schools have been under scrutiny for deteriorating building conditions like mold, mushrooms, vermin, and below or above average room temperatures. Read more.
Chicago Public Schools Sue Former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was slapped with a lawsuit from city officials on Thursday surrounding accusations of her participation in a “conspiracy and scheme to enrich themselves at the expense of the schoolchildren of the City of Chicago.” Last year, Byrd-Bennett plead guilty to an indictment charge that claimed she was getting money and benefits from SUPES Academy and Synesi, where she used to work. In exchange for the benefits, she issued no-bid contracts to the firms that were worth over $23 million. “In plain terms, defendants have stolen money from plaintiffs and the schoolchildren of the city of Chicago, and that money should be returned,” read the lawsuit. “With scarce resources, staff furloughs and painful budget cuts, CPS is keeping a close watch on every dollar,” said CPS Chief Forrest Claypool in a statement on Thursday. “Barbara Byrd-Bennett and her co-conspirators knew the district’s dire straits and still concocted this scheme to divert needed resources away from classrooms and line their own pockets.” Byrd-Bennett resigned from her position at Chicago Public Schools in April. Read more.
Black Women in Hollywood Endorse Hillary Clinton
Black women in Hollywood are coming together to show their support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Shondaland’s Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes, and Viola Davis were all featured in a new ad campaign called “Real Life.” “Our characters are on television, but the real world has Hillary Clinton,” said the women. They also said that Clinton is “a bonafide, rolls up her sleeves, fights for what’s right, in it for you, won’t back down champion for all of us.” Last month, Clinton visited the set of ABC’s hit show Scandal. Read more.
“Underground” Breaks Viewership Records for WGN Network
Underground, a new series that delves into the stories of slaves escaping a Georgia plantation, proved to be a hit for the WGN network. Debuting on Thursday night, Underground brought in 1.4 million total viewers. It was the highest viewership for an original series premiere for the network. The show ranked No. 5 among all series premieres on cable this season. It features stars like Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, and Alano Miller. Read more.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform