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Detroit Forced To Close 1/2 Its Schools

From the Wall Street Journal:

Detroit Schools’ Cuts Plan Approved

FEBRUARY 22, 2011

The state of Michigan approved a plan for Detroit to close about half of its public schools and increase the average size of high-school classrooms to 60 students over the next four years to eliminate a $327 million deficit.

But the good news is that the teachers who haven’t been fired yet will still able to collectively bargain about their number of sick days.

The plan was submitted in January by Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools’ emergency financial manager, as a last-ditch scenario if the district couldn’t find new revenue sources, which it hasn’t so far. Final approval came after Mike Flanagan, the state superintendent of public instruction, cleared Mr. Bobb’s initial plan with some new requirements, including that the district not file for bankruptcy protection during Mr. Bobb’s remaining months in office.

Notice that even the state’s school superintendent believes that the Detroit school district is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The state approved the plan in a Feb. 8 letter, which the Detroit public-schools district released Monday.

Mr. Bobb said the deep cuts were necessary if the district hoped to be solvent again without additional state aid. But he said the strategy was ultimately ill-advised because it will likely drive even more students away, depriving the district of needed state funds, which Michigan apportions on the basis of enrollment.

"This is the route we’re forced to take under state law," Steven Wasko, Detroit Public Schools’ assistant superintendent for communications, said Monday. "However we continue to look for longer-term plans so we can avoid this."

Mr. Bobb is now moving to shrink the district to 72 schools from 142, as enrollment is expected to decline to 58,570 students by 2014 from about 73,000 students today.

Mr. Bobb was appointed emergency financial manager for the district two years ago to help close what was then a $218 million deficit, and moved quickly to close schools and root out waste. But the deficit deepened during his tenure, weighed down by salary, pension and health-care obligations.

Well, it’s certainly better to cut the number of schools in half and double the size of classrooms and even face bankruptcy – than try to do anything about teachers salaries, and their lavish pensions and healthcare packages.

The longtime municipal manager said that without the cuts and cost-savings measures he has made since 2009, the district would face a deficit of more than $500 million today.

Meanwhile, many of his efforts to restructure the district’s academics and finances were derailed by clashes with unions and with the elected school board, which recently won a court fight to control academics and select the next superintendent

Obviously the unions were in their pitching — for the children.

Organized labor is fighting back. The Detroit Federation of Teachers called for an emergency lobbying day Tuesday in Lansing, the state capital, to protest bills granting emergency financial managers broad power over cities and school districts in financial crisis.

The teachers union has called for an "emergency lobbying day"? Things must be serious.

Under those bills, emergency managers could toss out union contracts, dissolve school boards and set wage and benefit levels without collective bargaining.

Mr. Bobb is generally supportive of the bills, said Mr. Wasko, the assistant superintendent.

Which means Mr. Bobb is not long for his job.

Calls to union officials weren’t immediately returned Monday.

Of course not. They are too busy defending their ‘rights.’

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Detroit Forced To Close 1/2 Its Schools”

  1. proreason says:

    I love Detroit.

    It’s useful to have a laboratory of progressivism right within our borders.

    It’s too expensive to fly to Libya and Cuba is too dangerous.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Not to worry though.
    Mooselimbs will re-open closed schools for pennies on the dollar.
    Sharia love will bloom and women will work in stone pits.
    Whose lookin’ fer a job?
    Infidels need not apply.

  3. wardmama4 says:

    Pro – exactly – nailed the point.

    And closing schools where (what is it?) 21% of the graduates can’t even read the diploma handed to them – is a problem, how?

    Sad – LD has a point there – islam and the liberals – wow – We all will get to see what destruction can be wrought when two completely opposite belief systems collude together to crush another belief system.

    Detroit sucks right now – I’m betting unless the conservatives step up – it will expose the dangers of liberalism and islam joining forces in America, very quickly.

    So in the end – it might not be a bad thing – look at what WI & OH are doing for exposing the unholy alliance of the DNC and Unions (I don’t count IN yet, it appears Daniels has no guts/backbone at all) – maybe this will actually help bring about some more Constitutional governing to America – or at least parts of America.

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