press release


News from Progress Michigan

January 27, 2017

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Progress Michigan Requests Records Detailing DeVos & GRPS Relationship

$67,000 gift and paid D.C. trip for Grand Rapids superintendent raises questions

MICHIGAN — Progress Michigan has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to public bodies seeking information regarding the DeVos family’s relationship with the Grand Rapids Public School District and Michigan’s School Reform Office.

The request is in response to concerns the government watchdog group has after news broke of the questionable relationship between the district and the DeVos family.

The FOIA requests, which were filed Friday afternoon, can be found here and here. 

“Given that we know the DeVos family has provided personal gifts like the $67,000 career coach for the GRPS superintendent and lobbied to keep the decision making authority with the SRO instead of being locally controlled by the Detroit Education Commission, we feel it is important to research whether or not GRPS are receiving other benefits from the relationship with the DeVos family,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “In general, we believe where there is smoke there is fire and the only way to find out is to dig deeper into this situation. Our FOIA seeks to do just that.”

In 2016, when the debate in the legislature circled around the creation of the Detroit Education Commission that would oversee the closure of struggling schools in Detroit, DeVos-backed groups like the Great Lakes Education Project and elected officials like Daniela Garcia (R-Holland) lobbied to keep that decision making authority with the SRO.

In 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder moved the SRO from the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, which is overseen by the State Superintendent and State Board of Education, to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which he has control over.


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