10 April 2009

Big Cuts At Detroit Schools

Many Detroit Schools are being closed by a receiver managing its financial affairs.

The state-appointed official overseeing the finances of Detroit's impoverished school district said Thursday that to close a $303 million budget deficit, he planned to shut more than a quarter of its 194 schools and eliminate the jobs of more than 10 percent of its teachers.

The plan calls for 23 schools to be permanently shut over the summer, leaving more than 7,500 students to be transferred to other schools. . . . An additional 30 to 40 schools will close next year . . . and as many as 600 teachers will be laid off this year.

By comparison, the Rocky Mountain News had a $14 million a year deficit, the Boston Globe is losing about $7 million a month, and GM is losing billions of dollars a year.

Lots of open questions remain after this brief report. Does Detroit have less to spend per student than other districts in Michigan? Are the closed schools doing a poor job, or just expensive and underfilled? What criteria are being used to close schools? What have recent enrollment trends looked like? What happens if Detroits collapse gets yet worse? When was the receiver appointed and why?

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

Let's look at the numbers.

1. "which has seen enrollment drop by more than 10,000 a year for several years...And the diaspora of Detroit schoolchildren is likely to widen. District projections suggest it may continue to lose 10,000 students a year"
Source = http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070115/SCHOOLS/701150362/1026

2. Detroit's population has fallen from 1.8M to 800K since 1950. Its population level is now equal to that of 1915.
Source = http://www.detroit1701.org/PopEnumerated.html

3. Let's assume that a school holds 400 (elementary) to 2000 (high) students on average. Let's 500 as a typical number. Losing 10K students per year means that you should be closing 20 schools per year.

4. There is no upside "People are leaving Michigan at a staggering rate. About 109,000 more people left Michigan last year than moved in. It is one of the worst rates in the nation, quadruple the loss of just eight years ago. The state loses a family every 12 minutes"
Source= http://www.detnews.com/article/20090402/METRO/904020403/Leaving+Michigan+Behind++Eight-year+population+exodus+staggers+state

5. "Jan 27, 2009 10:02 AM

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has appointed Robert C. Bobb, a Washington, D.C., consultant, as the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools. Bobb will have all authority over the district's $1.1-billion budget."
Source = http://asumag.com/dailynews/detroitreform1104/

"Under Public Act 72 of 1990, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Robert C. Bobb as Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit Public Schools, effective March 2, 2009 and expiring March 1, 2010."
Source = http://www.detroit.k12.mi.us/admin/finance/manager/

6. Not doing a good job "In Detroit's public schools, 24.9 percent of the students graduated from high school"