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The detroit public school district is facing a drastic overhaul

I attended and graduated from the DPS school district
I attended and graduated from the DPS school district
Randy Jenkins

Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Bobb, unveiled a proposal called "Renaissance Plan 2012" in hopes of establishing a feasible plan to address the academically-failing schools and at the same time significantly reducing operating cost while addressing the district budget deficit in the Detroit Public Schools district.

A few highlights of "Renaissance Plan 2012" include the creation of a new district, a request of a fixed level of state funding regardless of enrollment levels, and the conversion of 41 of the district's 142 schools into charter academies as part of a plan to overhaul the district academically and financially.

This Deficit Elimination Plan is expected to cut the financially ridden district by $75-$99 million.

Concerned Detroit parents of student in the district should find out the specifics later this week as to which of the Detroit Public Schools are targeted for closure under the plan to send up to 16,000 students to a new charter academy sanctioned by the district.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb told the Detroit Board of Education at a public finance workshop at the Detroit International Academy today that the plan has the following advantages over the traditional approach to school closings:

• Academic failure will not be tolerated

• The best and most innovative approaches to educating students from across the country will be introduced in the District

• No students will be relocated from their current schools

• No additional vacant and boarded schools will impact Detroit neighborhoods

• The District will experience significant financial savings by eliminating all of the operating costs of the schools

• Immediate budget savings will be realized

• No costs will be incurred for closing and securing schools, an estimated savings of $22 million

• An estimated $21.85 million in revenue will be generated from leases to charter schools

• $7 million in non-general funds can be re-directed to other schools

Bobb stated that DPS charters will also have significant advantages over other types of charters within the state. “Students living within the neighborhood will be given priority enrollment, and charter operators will be contractually required to meet all special education needs of enrolled students,” he said. “Rather than simply closing schools, this plan seeks to transform DPS into one of the nation’s premier urban school districts by recruiting some of the best, proven school operators to serve Detroit’s children and remake schools that have been failing them for years.”

DPS facilities will be made available to Charter operators at competitive rates and will be equipped with materials, furniture and equipment. In the event that one of the proposed schools does not receive a qualified proposal, the school will close and students will be transferred to adjacent DPS schools.

The Detroit Public School district will ultimately be overhauled academically and financially.

School Board President Anthony Adams believes that the plan was the best approach as compared to previous proposals to overhaul the district. Adams later went on to say that the hybrid plan helps preserve the school system's long-term viability, high academic standards, and district control as well as eliminate debt.

If you have any question or concerns, you can call the district at (313) 240-4377 or you can call the district spokesman, Steve Wasko, at (313) 873-4542.


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