Former GM exec named DPS financial manager

Gov. Rick Snyder announced former General Motors executive Roy Roberts as the new emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools Wednesday May 4 at the Michigan Office in the Cadillac Place building in Midtown, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The 72 year-old was the highest-ranking African American in the auto industry. He retired in 2000 after serving as GM Vice President for North American Sales, Service and Marketing.

Former General Motors executive, Ray Roberts, was named DPS emergency financial manager

Gov. Snyder said he wanted someone from the Detroit area and called Roberts, a Bloomfield Hills resident, a team builder with perfect qualifications.

As of now, new decisions or changes have not been planned by Roberts. The current plan for school closures and school board will remain in place until an evaluation can be made to determine if changes should be made, according to Roberts. He will have the authority to modify or cancel union contracts beginning May 17.Roberts is the district’s seventh leader in six years.

He will be paid $250,000 for a one-year contract. Snyder could extend the contract when the year is up. Roberts and Bobb will work closely to work on a transition plan over the next few weeks. He starts his first day on the job on May 15, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Roberts will be met with a load of unpaid bills and a district that has spent a third of its money to repay short-term loans. Robert Bobb was puzzled by the district’s spending when he first arrived.

“In the world I live in you don’t issue bonds to cover ongoing operating expenses,” said Bobb.

The district has accumulated $45.8 million in unpaid invoices dating back to 2009, according to documents from the DPS Office of Accounting. If the bills aren’t paid by June 30, the deficit could go up  and hurt the district’s chances of borrowing, according the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit Public Schools has increased short-term borrowing in order to pay its bills. DPS predicts to make $1.5 billion in revenues. They also plan to have $500 million of it set aside to pay on notes from 2005, 2009 and 2010, according to the district’s March cash flow statement. The money will retire much of that short-term debt, but the district plans to take out more short-term loans next year, according to the statement.

The Michigan education and treasury departments have been monitoring the DPS budget since 2005.

Detroit Public Schools has a $327 million budget deficit, up from $219 million in 2009. About 1% of graduates are college-ready, compared to 16% statewide. The graduation rate for DPS is 62%, compared to 76% statewide. Former superintendent, Connie Calloway believes that the district has a tough road to travel.

“Without a successful public education system, like most of the urban centers, they’re not going to make it,” said Calloway.

Who is Roy Roberts?

Roy Roberts is the ninth of ten children, raised in Muskegon. His father raised him after his mother died at age 2. Roberts graduated from Western Michigan University, where he is  a trustee emeritus.

He currently serves as the managing director and co-founder of a Chicago-based private equity investment firm called Reliant Equity Investors.

Roberts has been named executive of the year by a national magazine. He was also given the American Success Award, presented by former President George Bush.

For more visit http://www.freep.com/article/20110506/NEWS02/105060466/-48-5-million-unpaid-bills-await-new-Detroit-Public-Schools-manager

This video is just a collection of some photos of Robert Bobb and Roy Roberts.


Teachers, Parent discuss DPS issues

I interviewed a couple of teachers who have been teaching with DPS for over ten years, along with a parent. They opened up about Robert Bobb and his new call to action for school closures and charter school conversions. They were also asked questions pertaining to the issues the district faces, including whether or not they would keep their children in Detroit Public Schools as opposed to enrolling them into newly established charter schools for the next school year. The good thing about these interviews is the fact that both teachers were extremely honest, considering the climate the district is in.


Thomas Moss, high school asst. principal talks about the district

Thomas Moss, Jr., an assistant principal at Renaissance High School gives his take on education and why DPS struggles. He links city government to education when explaining the issue DPS faces. Moss also attributes a quality education to parental involvement, noting that it is an essential component to a child’s education. Moss has been with Detroit Public Schools for over 15 years. He started off as a substitute teacher, then moved on to be an attendance officer at Cooley High School, which is now closed. While at Cooley, Moss became a social studies teacher and head football coach. Later on, he was promoted to assistant principal until it was closed in 2010. I chose to interview him because he has performed in many different capacities with DPS and could offer some insight on why the district in trouble.

Interview – Thomas Moss Jr. by tempren08


Schools plea against closure

125 parents, teachers and principals gathered at a school representation meeting Monday, April 25. They each represented six schools up for closure. Each school was allotted 2o minutes to make their final plea to Robert Bobb in hopes of keeping their schools open.

The schools are scheduled to close in June. The only thing that can keep the schools open is if a charter operator buys the buildings and takes over.

Last month, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb announced his Renaissance 2012 plan, which will close eight schools by 2013. It also calls to offer 45 school to charter operators for purchase.

Eighteen of the 45 schools will close by the end of June if charter operators don’t come forward. The plan is put in place to reduce the school district’s $327 million budget deficit and boost enrollment.

The remaining 27 schools will remain open even if charter operators don’t purchase them and take over. Nine charter operators have visited Detroit Public Schools buildings so far. The school district has already received 25 letters of intent from public and private organizations that are interested in 64 of the district’s buildings.

In 2000, enrollment of students was about 168, 000. As of now, enrollment has declined to more than half at 73,000. Detroit Public Schools projections say that by 2016 will decline to about 50,000.

First of all, Bobb is full of crap. The only reason he’s allowing these meetings to go on is to make parents, teachers and administrators believe their input matters. They can beg and plead all they want, but Bobb already has his mind made up on what schools will close and what schools will stay open.

For more visit http://detnews.com/article/20110424/SCHOOLS/104240311/DPS-schools-slated-for-closure-prepare-to-plead-their-cases


Teachers receive layoff notices

All members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers have received layoff notices. Administrators were served with non-renewal notices.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers consists of 5,466 members. There are 248 administrators in the district.

Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Bobb plans to revise union contracts in May. The notices are required under the collective bargaining agreement. The effective date for layoffs for the Detroit Federation of Teachers is at the end of the day on July 29.

Detroit Federation of Teachers Keith Johnson said the majority of layoff notices will be dismissed, especially in areas like math, science, foreign and bilingual languages, and computer technology.

This is the first time every member of the Detroit Federation of Teachers received layoff notices and the first time their contract has been threatened with termination.

In 2009, Bobb wanted the union to give up the process of hiring based on seniority to give administrators the power to hire and fire teachers despite their years of experience. The Detroit Federation of Teachers agreed to $90 million in concessions, but had to loan the school district $10,000.

Bobb is allowed to modify or terminate existing collective bargaining agreements. But he would have to wait 60 days, or until May 17.

Layoff and non-renewal notices don’t necessarily mean that everyone will lose their jobs. Last year, 2,000 teachers received layoff notices but by August most of the notices were dismissed. But, all teachers had to re-interview for their jobs.

I disagree with Keith Johnson. The majority of layoff notices won’t be dismissed due to the fact 45 schools are either being closed or converted to charter schools. Therefore when this happens less teachers and administrators will be needed in DPS. My mom is a teacher and my father is an assistant principal. I hate the fact that they have to re-interview for their jobs each year, especially my mom whose been teaching for 27 years. It’s just all wrong.

For more visit http://detnews.com/article/20110415/SCHOOLS/104150347


Over 40 schools to be converted to charters

Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb, has proposed to convert over 40 schools to charter schools. The plan is called “Renaissance 2012.”

The deficit elimination plan that is already in place calls for closing 70 schools over a two-year period by 2013. It will also decrease the number of principals and increase class sizes. But, Bobb doesn’t think the plan would benefit students’ education experience.

Along with “Renaissance 2012,” Bobb proposed four other plans. Two would call for more school closings. The third proposed the expansion of charter schools. The school district currently contains nine charter schools. The fourth plan includes the creation of a new district, a request for a fixed level of state funding despite enrollment levels and conversion of 41 public schools to charter schools.

School Board President Anthony Adams believes this to be plan. The fourth plan, known as the hybrid model, would save the district $75 million to $99 million in operating costs, $22 million in closure costs, while adding an estimated $21.85 million in revenues from charter schools for building and equipment leases.

Enrollment is expected to drop 30 percent from nearly 73,000 students in 2011 to nearly 51,000 by 2016. Bobb’s last day as the emergency financial manager is June 30. The state plans to replace him with another financial manager.

Charter operators and entrepreneurs visited a conference April  14 to get a closer look at Bobb’s new plan, Renaissance 2012, to eliminate the deficit DPS faces. Over 70 organizations interested in chartering public schools came to the conference. Those interested were encourage to apply and given information on buildings, tours and what it takes to establish a charter board.

I think the whole charter school thing is pointless because it will most likely produce the same results as DPS. As of now, it’s not a requirement for teachers to be certified, unlike it is in DPS. Teachers get paid less to deal with the same kids that go to DPS. I understand the idea is to fix the deficit but selling schools to the highest bidder isn’t the right way.

For more visit http://detnews.com/article/20110415/SCHOOLS/104150370


School Board President accused of living outside of Detroit

Detroit School Board President, Anthony Adams’ wife has accused him of living outside of the city, which violates board policy.

Deborah Ross Adams, a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court, claims her husband lives in Oakland County in her divorce filing. She also filed that he’s claiming that he lives in their Palmer Woods home to meet his residency requirement for the school board.

School Board President Anthony Adams

Adams served as deputy mayor under former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. In court records, he said that his wide changed the lock on their home and asked him to stay away. But, Adams does admit that he temporarily lives in an apartment on East Jefferson, which is outside of the district he was elected in.

He filed for divorce in 2009 after 31 years of marriage. In a deposition, said he stopped living at he and his estranged wife’s home in January 2005.

Their divorce is scheduled for March 21 before Oakland Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan. Their case was transferred to Oakland County Circuit Court after all judges in Wayne County Family Court dismissed themselves. His wife is a family court judge. She alleges that Adams lives in Troy with another woman, which has yet to be proven.

Although Adams may be in violation of school board policy, which requires all members to be residents of the city of Detroit, DPS has bigger fish to fry, like the school system’s deficit, school closures and layoff notices. Maybe after the smoke clears, officials should further investigate allegations. Hopefully, this isn’t just a product of a woman scorned making up false accusations.

I’m just tired of elected officials in Detroit thinking that they can do whatever they want and feel exempt from any punishment. For example, look at former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. He did pretty much everything illegal in office. Yet, while in prison he seeks a lesser sentence and believes he’s done nothing wrong.


DPS School Closure Map

This map locates some Detroit Public Schools that will either be closed or converted into charter schools. When hovering over the location, it will either say “Closure Summer 2011” or “Closure Summer 2011/Possible Charter.” Most schools on the map are elementary schools.

View DPS Closures/Charters in a larger map


Detroit Public Schools – “I’m In”

This is a promotional video for Detroit Public Schools. It features Donald Walker, DPS Program Manager. Through the first half of the video he describes the rugged streets of Detroit while sharing little known facts about DPS. Throughout the second half of the video, scenes of classrooms and community involvement are shown, representing progress made to improve the school system. I think this is such a positive video for DPS because it sheds light on what things are being done to make the school system better. It uplifts the community and encourages involvement.


Do you think Robert Bobb is helping Detroit Public Schools?Market Research