Detroit week in review: How much for that school building over there?

The fate of a vacant school that once belonged to the Detroit district is in limbo as schools chief Nikolai Vitti announced the district will find a partner to determine how much it costs to improve all its buildings. In the meantime, Vitti has halted all building sales. That means one charter school founder can only wait as she presses the district to sell her the vacant school — even though the district no longer owns it. The district would make money on the sale even if the school sold right now, but this issue might have to play out in a courtroom.

In other news, a parent advocacy association, 482Forward, will hold a conference on educational justice this weekend, full of workshops for parents. Click here to learn more. It starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, so act quickly.

We won’t be sending a newsletter next week because we’ll be recuperating from Thanksgiving. But be sure to follow us on Facebook for any updates between now and our next newsletter, and have a great holiday week!

– Julie Topping, Editor, Chalkbeat Detroit

WHAT ARE THEY WORTH? Vitti doesn’t understand why city school buildings shouldn’t get top dollar when they sell.

LEAD LEVELS UP: The number of schoolchildren in Detroit with high lead levels is growing and some blame the city’s aggressive building demolition program.

ONLINE SCHOOLS: A union leader wonders why the state keeps giving money to online schools that seem to be a failed experiment. Read Chalkbeat’s story about an Indiana school that has opened up shop in Michigan, even though its performance is low and finances have been brought under question.

TEACHERS ABSENT: A national report says almost a quarter of teachers at the state’s traditional public schools are chronically absent.

TEACHER HIRING: Two teacher job fairs will be held this month as the city district whittles down its vacant teacher spots from 150.

HEAD START: The state’s Head Start program is solid, according to a top official, despite the fact that 11 schools may close.

DISCIPLINE DEMANDS: Twelve Michigan districts are charged with reducing their expulsion and suspension rates. Here’s how one suburban district has done it.

POVERTY AND LEARNING: A columnist explains how a child’s background impacts learning.

VIOLENCE UNCUT: Violence in neighborhoods has plagued families in some neighborhoods for generations. Hear children from these families describe what their lives are like.

GUN BILLS: A longtime educator and mom explains why a state Senate bill allowing guns in schools, churches, and child care centers scares her. One state senator says not allowing concealed weapons in gun free zones ”creates tragedy.” The state board of education is split on the issue, and so are lawmakers and voters, according to one columnist.

WHEN YOU GROW UP: Almost 2,000 students from the Detroit district participated in a career exploration fair this week.

AUTO SKILLS: Amid a shortage of auto mechanics trained in new technology, a new automotive lab at a suburban high school is sparking interest among students to pursue those careers.

WHAT’S THE VISION? The vision for schools should be kids and quality, and there’s still work to be done, says one charter school advocate.

EVALUATING STUDENTS: Schools should find ways to measure skills that go beyond traditional test scores, one blogger says.

DIVIDING MONEY: The state appointed an ombudsman, as required under federal education law ESSA, to make sure federal money for public and private schools is distributed equally.

LEARNING ENGLISH: An Ann Arbor mom has launched a Saturday school to stop English-only classrooms from holding back Spanish-speaking kids.

EXTRA CREDIT: A city district student won a contest to design a float for the Thanksgiving parade.