Detroit Evening Report: Detroit school board extends superintendent’s contract 3 years

Listen to the latest episode of the “Detroit Evening Report” podcast.

Board members from the Detroit Public Schools Community District moved to extend Superintendent Nikolai Vitti's contract through 2028 on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

Board members from the Detroit Public Schools Community District moved to extend Superintendent Nikolai Vitti's contract through 2028 on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

The head of the Detroit Public Schools Community District has received a three-year contract extension following a contemptuous board meeting on Tuesday.

Subscribe to the Detroit Evening Report on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Six out of seven Board of Education members voted to extend Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s contract for three more years, starting in June 2025.

Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo voted against the contract extension, citing the improper timing of the decision.

“I understand stabilizing the district; keeping the district with the proper leadership, I just think timing is an issue,” Gay-Dagnogo said before casting her no vote. “And I experienced this in coming on the board in December 2020, and I had issue with it then — [the Board] voted to extend Dr. Vitti’s contract before I was able to be seated, and for those reasons, I would be in opposition.”

Gay-Dagnogo also cited issues with the district’s “culture and climate” as another reason for her dissenting vote — a sentiment that was echoed by several members of the audience who had to wait approximately two hours for the board to come out of a closed session before they were able to participate in the public comment period.

Among the issues brought up by district staff and community members during public comment were insufficient staffing and classroom materials, poor maintenance of school buildings, and toxic work environments for educators, as well as an accusation that the board’s termination of a district employee during Tuesday’s meeting was in retaliation of her reporting to the administration three alleged instances of sexual harassment by a supervisor — her lawyer adding that his client’s career “took a plummet” and that she was denied promotions before the Board ultimately moved to fire her.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins said Tuesday that the board’s decision to extend Vitti’s contract before it was set to expire is “parallel to all the shenanigans we encounter at the negotiating table and in many of our schools.”

“We do not have confidence in you,” she added.

Vitti became superintendent of DPSCD in 2017 and is one of the longest serving superintendents in the district’s history. 

As part of the amendment to his contract, Vitti will be getting a salary increase based on the percentage of teacher union pay increases. He currently earns a base salary of $354,973, according to Chalkbeat Detroit.

WDET’s Jenny Sherman contributed to this report.

Other headlines for Wednesday, March 20, 2024:

  • The city of Detroit issued a news release on Wednesday announcing James Noseda as the city’s new deputy corporation counsel.
  • The Biden administration has announced new automobile emissions standards that officials called the most ambitious plan ever to cut planet-warming emissions from passenger vehicles.
  • Gas prices have jumped in metro Detroit, with prices in the region now averaging $3.58 a gallon — up 13 cents from last week.
  • Wayne State University will hold a special panel discussion titled “Sisters in Law – Leading The Way,” in celebration of Women’s History Month, at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Wayne State Industry Innovation Center.
  • The state sounded a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. today to encourage severe weather preparedness in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan, March 17-23.  

Do you have a community story we should tell? Let us know in an email at

Support Detroit Public Radio.

WDET is celebrating 75 years of people powered radio during our 2024 Spring Fundraiser, now through March 24. Become a member and invest in WDET’s next chapter of news, music and conversation.

Donate today »


  • Jerome Vaughn
    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.