The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced its long-term solution to provide clean drinking water for the more than 50,000 students and staff throughout the district, with the installation of water hydration systems.
In addition, DPSCD announced support from approximately a dozen philanthropic partners who have committed $2.4 million to support the purchase and installation of the hydration systems to be placed in every school building by summer of 2019. DPSCD will be one of the nation’s largest public school districts with hydration stations in all school buildings.
The hydration stations offer filtration technology designed to cool water and remove lead, copper, and other contaminants. DPSCD will install one station for every 100 students as well as one in every gym and faculty lounge.
“We worked expeditiously to identify a long-term drinking water solution that ensures all students and staff have access to safe and clean drinking water,” said Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of DPSCD. “This is the solution to turning drinking water back on in our schools.
“We are extremely grateful to our donors who continue to step up and assist us with maintaining a safe learning environment.”
The DPSCD Board of Education unanimously approved the implementation and funding of hydration stations in all DPSCD schools today during a special board meeting.
“We are incredibly proud of the aggressive planning and strategic efforts the district put forth to arrive at today’s solution,” said Iris Taylor, Board Chair DPSCD Board of Education. “This is yet another key indicator of DPSCD’s commitment to place students first in all of our decision-making practices. We applaud Dr. Vitti on his leadership, swift action and ability to problem solve”
Dr. Taylor also commented on the strong collaboration that has taken place between DPSCD, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, the Detroit Health Department, the Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage, as well as countless parents and community members.
Superintendent Vitti also announced an initial list of donors who committed funding for the hydration stations. The total purchase and installation cost are expected to total nearly $3 million. The Financial Review Commission will hold a special meeting later this week to approve any outstanding financial obligations incurred by the district.
The United Way for Southeastern Michigan is spearheading the philanthropic campaign with a lead gift of $500,000. They are also working to raise additional funds from the community through a dedicated website link at www.UnitedWayWaterFund.org. Other major donors include:
Quicken Loans ($500,000), the Delta Dental Foundation ($300,000), DTE Energy Foundation ($300,000) General Motors ($200,000), Ford Motor Company Fund ($200,000), FCA Foundation ($100,000), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan/Blue Care Network ($100,000), Ascension Michigan ($50,000), the Detroit Medical Center ($50,000), Health Alliance Plan/Henry Ford Health System ($50,000), The Jewish Fund ($25,000) and an anonymous donor ($10,000).
Until the hydration stations are installed, schools will continue to use water coolers. Once the stations are operational, the water coolers will be removed.
“Clean water is a fundamental human right and if anything interferes with that right, then we believe it is the entire community’s responsibility to immediately address it, especially when it comes to our children,” said Dan Gilbert, Founder & Chairman of Quicken Loans Community Fund. “We are proud to stand alongside the district and other generous donors who have come together to support Dr. Vitti, who is leading the charge to immediately and decisively fix this serious issue.”
“For more than a century, the core of our work has focused on ensuring the communities’ basic needs are met and access to clean drinking water is one such basic need,” says Darienne
Driver, Ed.D, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “DPSCD is a valued United Way partner as we are both committed to the wellbeing of students. We stand firmly with the district in putting the safety of our children first and ask the community’s support of our special campaign so that students have access to clean drinking water.”
Similar hydration stations are being used in multiple districts around the country, as well as locally in Royal Oak, Ann Arbor and Birmingham schools, suburban school districts in Michigan.
“The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) applauds Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti for being proactive and testing all of the water taps at all of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) school buildings. We couldn’t agree more that it is essential we protect the health of our most vulnerable resources – our children. The water delivered to the schools meets or exceeds state and federal water quality standards. DWSD and the Great Lakes Water Authority will continue to lend our expertise and provide any technical assistance.”
DPSCD’s continued commitment to provide updates and information to the community will be shared in a series of letters that will be distributed today throughout the district and the city. Included in this packet is a letter from the Detroit Health Department. The District extends a special thank you to the donors, and all involved who have put this plan in place. Information about the hydration stations and drinking water in general, can be found here: detroitk12.org/content/drinking-water.