Derrick Lopez1

Flint (Mich.) district superintendent is suspended amid investigation

April 17, 2020
Board puts Derrick Lopez on administrative leave, but has not disclosed the nature of the investigation.

The Flint (Mich.) Community Schools Board has suspended Superintendent Derrick Lopez while it carries out an investigation.

MLive.com reports that the board has appointed Assistant Superintendent Anita Stewart as interim superintendent.

School board President Casey Lester read aloud the resolution at the meeting: “The Flint Board of Education places the district superintendent on paid suspension pending conclusion of board investigation and authorizes the board to inform the district superintendent of his suspension and to take action necessary to permit the prompt completion of the investigation by board council."

The district has not disclosed specifics about the investigation.

Officials at the Michigan Department of Education said they did not know why Lopez was under investigation, The Detroit News reports.

We’ve received nothing from the school district regarding this, and not sure we will as this is a local issue," MDE spokesman Martin Ackley says.

Michigan Education Association leaders also expressed concern that the union has not been made aware of an investigation..

“I am concerned that as a union president, I am finding out in an open forum that the superintendent is suspended," said Karen Christian, president of the United Teachers of Flint Union. "There needs to be a meeting with union heads.”

Bruce Jordan, MEA UniServ director for Region 10, also wrote in public comment he was unaware of any discussion over an investigation into Lopez.

“I will say this is a shock (that) this how union leadership found out there’s an issue and investigation with Superintendent Lopez,” Jordan says.

Flint schools are in a financial crisis, with a looming budget deficit and increasing special education costs.

The district has a larger-than-average special education population — 26% — a number that's nearly twice the statewide average of 13.2%. Flint's special education population also has grown every school year since the city's 2014 water crisis.

At the same time, the district has experienced a decline in its general education, or non-special education, population. It has decreased from 85% in the 2014-15 school year to 73% this year.

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