The Board of Education, previously a powerful force in the district, has been sidelined for several years as state-appointed Emergency Financial Managers Robert C. Bobb and Roy Roberts have held legal control.
An August audit of the DPS Police Department found "gross abuses" overtime and attendance rules. Hundreds of unused, including BlackBerry phones, motorcycles and metal detectors were also found.
Bobb announces lawsuits against four people who have refused to testify at his hearings on questionable real estate transactions with DPS: DPS board member Anthony Adams; presidents of the Farbman Group, David and Andy Farbman, and Sharon Harbin, and appraiser who worked for the school district.
Bobb announced a day later that the Farbman brothers would meet privately with him.
All DPS teachers were given layoff notices. The district was dealing with a $237-million deficit.
- DPS proposes turning 41 schools into charters and closing others
- Roy Roberts named as the successor to Robert Bobb as Emergency Financial Manager of DPS
- May 16: Roberts starts.
- Week of May 23: DPS plans to begin recalling laid off teaches for the Fall.
- June 8: Roy Roberts says that DPS' budget problems are worse than he thought, but doesn't provide specifics and declines to release the draft DPS budget.
- 9: DPS slows plans to covert school to charters as part of the Renaissance Plan 2012. Only three operators and five schools are selected.
- July 13: Roberts names Doug Ross, founder of New Urban Learning, as the the head of the DPS charter project.
- 25: About 3,800 laid off teachers are recalled. An additional 1,200 laid-off staff are expected to be recalled in late July or August.
- 29: Roberts announces a 10% wage cut for all employees, as well as mandatory 20% health care contributions.
- 30: DPS union leaders will meet to discuss responses to Roberts' universal 10% wage cut.
- August 1: State lawmakers will discuss changes to the public school accreditation system in September.
- 19: The district posts an FAQ about 2011-12 concessions.
- 25: Most teachers have been assigned to classes. In 2010, several classes went weeks without permanent teachers, allegedly because of student first-day attendance problems complicating numbers.
- 29: The State superintendent says that the state will need to help with the district's $327M deficit.
- October 19: Teachers are complaining about a number of especially large classes, but the teacher's union doesn't know exactly how many are above count.
- The Free Press outlines some recent legal settlements, including $650,000 to former superintendant Teresa Gueyser for wrongful termination by Robert Bobb. A mediator suggests the district will pay former superintendant Connie Calloway close to $1M.
- 26: Nolan Elementary School was cited as a fire hazard for a kindergarden classroom with 56 students. A parent had called the fire marshall.
- The Detroit Federation of Teachers has been stepping up to provide information that the school district is not. They surveyed all teachers to report on over 8,000 missing textbooks at 27 schools. They also collected data on classroom overcrowding to share with the district.
- 27: The Detroit Fire Department met with the district to discuss if overcrowding is occurring at all schools. Gompers and Nolan were cited during the week for overcrowding. The DFT also collected information on overcrowding but was not planning on sharing it with the Fire Department, preferring instead to work directly with the district.
- Attendance fell below 75% on more than 45 days in the past school year, causing the state to investigate fining DPS for persistent truancy. Funding is withheld for high absence rates. The district could be charged as much as $25M. Incomplete attendance records are making evaluation difficult.
- Roy Roberts presented a mandated 6-month financial report, which showed an 8% cut in spending in the last fiscal year, shrinking the district deficit by about $43M from $327M to $283M. In October, the district also refinanced $200M of debt into 10-year bonds, bringing the district's total long-term weigh to around $500M. The deficit is officially at $83.4M as of November 2011.
The District is preparing to move out of space leased from Farbman that was the subject of a 2009 controversy and into owned space. 98,400 square feet will be removed from the rolls. The relocation will be a one-time, $1.3M cost.
The Free Press reports the district will divide the space as follows:
- Academics, Early Childhood (partial), Specialized Student Services, Innovation Office – Fisher 9th floor
- Communications – Fisher 10th floor
- DPS Foundation – Fisher 10th floor
- Finance – Fisher 11th floor
- General Counsel – Fisher 10th floor
- Human Resources, Labor Relations, Health Services,
- Employee Benefits – Fisher 10th floor
- Information Technology (partial) – Fisher 10th floor
- Parent Involvement – Fisher 6th floor
- Procurement and Logistics – Fisher 11th floor
- Risk Management – Fisher 11th floor
- Early Childhood (partial) - Fleming School Building, 18501 Waltham
- Professional Development - Harris Building, 3700 Pulford
- Board of Education - Douglass Academy for Young Men at 2001 W. Warren
- Pupil Population Management and Student Records -
- Douglass Academy for Young Men at 2001 W. Warren
- Special Education Placement - Douglass Academy for Young Men at 2001 W. Warren
- Student Assistance and Intervention – Douglass Academy for Young Men at 2001 W. Warren
- Research, Evaluation and Assessment – Support Services Complex at 1425 E. Warren
Highland Park School District
In March 2012, the Detroit Public Schools signed a four-month agreement to manage the Highland Park School District after HPS missed a payday and is operating at an $11M deficit. Jack Martin, emergency manager for HPS; Roy Roberts, and state Treasurer Andy Dillon signed the operating agreement.
- Roberts rejects 60-student classes, vows 'to help them learn'. Detroit News. 21 May 2011.
- DPS's new emergency manager: Problems are worse than I thought. Detroit Free Press. 8 June 2011.
- DPS slows plan to change schools to charters. Detroit Free Press. 9 June 2011.
- Staunch DPS critic to lead new charter schools. Detroit Free Press. 13 July 2011.
- Nearly 3,800 laid off DPS teachers called back to work. Detroit News. 25 July 2011.
- DPS employees must shoulder $81 million in concessions, including 10% pay cut, Roy Roberts says. Free Press. 29 July 2011.
- DPS union leaders creating response to contract break Detroit News. 30 July 2011.
- Michigan toughens standards for schools. Detroit News. 1 August 2011.
- DPS assigns most teachers. Detroit News. 25 August 2011.
- Michigan schools chief says state needs to help DPS pay down debt. Free Press. 29 August 2011.
- Editorial: The cost of Detroit school board failure: Cash to courts, not to schools. Free Press. 19 October 2011.
- DPS spending cuts are working, Roberts says. Free Press. 21 November 2011.
- Detroit Public Schools to move out of controversial leased office space. Free Press. 9 December 2011.
- Detroit Public Schools to co-manage financially troubled Highland Park district. Free Press. 3 March 2012.
- Additional articles linked inline above.