Sharon McPhail, Ousted from Charter School Top Job, Refuses to Go –  Deadline Detroit

Detroit Community Schools in Brightmoor (Google Street View)

She’s been fired, but she is telling you, she’s not going. 

Sharon McPhail has been ousted from her well-paid position as chief administrative officer of Detroit Community Schools, a troubled K-12 charter school in Brightmoor. But the former Detroit councilwoman won’t leave. She claims that Bay Mills Community College, authorizer for the school, lacks authority to fire her, the Free Press reports.

Detroit Community Schools serves some of the poorest children in the city, and has equally poor results: Only 7 percent of elementary and middle-school students are proficient in all subject areas, and 22 percent of high-school students, compared with about 40 percent statewide. 

But the biggest problem is McPhail, who lacks the certification to do the job she holds. The state has fined DCS more than $200,000 in the last two years for her failure to seek the proper credential. 

Bridge magazine reported on DCS two years ago, noting its academic problems and McPhail’s $130,000 salary, along with six-figure salaries paid to the school’s chief financial officer and principal, while teachers averaged $42,000 a year, well below the average pay for teachers statewide. 

Sharon McPhail

As the charter’s authorizer, Bay Mills Community College, a small tribal school in the Upper Peninsula, ostensibly holds authority over the school’s operation. McPhail appears to think otherwise:

“She’s not cooperating,” said Tom Shields, the spokesman for the college. “She is saying Bay Mills has no legal grounds” to fire her.

Consequently, Shields said, “Bay Mills will be seeking a court order to have her removed.”

Shields said McPhail’s certification issues — and the financial problems it had created — “was putting the school in jeopardy.”

The college had refused to certify the school — a certification needed for the school to receive financing — because of the issues surrounding McPhail.

McPhail also served as general counsel for former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a job she took after several high-profile clashes with him, including one where she accused him of tampering with an electric back massager on her chair. 

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