Detroit School Closings to Offset Budget Deficit
Dorothy Rowley | 2/23/2011, 4:33 p.m.
In an effort to help reduce the city of Detroit's $327 million budget deficit, half of its public schools will close, resulting in classrooms bursting with as many as 60 students.
Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager who left the D.C. State Board of Education two years ago to put things in perspective in Detroit, was hired by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
He told CNN that 70 schools will eventually close, leaving 72 others to accommodate displaced students.
Bobb noted that the closings - which are in alignment with the Deficit Elimination Plan he filed in January -- will take place during a months-long procedure that will also consolidate operations. Layoff
discussions are forthcoming with further details slated for April.
Bobb, who wants to restructure the school system and give it a fresh start, said the plan will rouse concern.
"We're going to anger more individuals in the next few months, because I'm going to close 20, maybe 40 schools within the next few months," Bobb said.
Meanwhile, as enrollment over the past decade has plummeted by 50 percent, the decline has spawned a dip in school funding.
But Bobb said the closings are the only option officials have in a state mandate to close the budget gap. With the closings in place, the system is expected to go from 73,000 public school students now to about a little over 58,000 students in the next three years.
Bobb plans on leaving his post effective June 30 and State Superintendent Mike Flanagan will be faced with bringing on another financial manager to continue implementation.