When former General Motors executive Roy Roberts came out of retirement in 2011 at the age of 72 to run Detroit Public Schools, the district had a $327-million deficit, abysmal test scores and declining enrollment.
Now, the deficit has been reduced through selling bonds, and state test scores inched up this year. Enrollment declines persist, but Roberts, the state-appointed emergency manager, said he has accomplished all he could and is leaving DPS with a road map to eliminate the remaining $76 million in deficit. Roberts, now 74, will step down when his contract expires May 16.
He said that because of the progress, along with the announcement in April of a five-year strategic plan to retain and recruit students, he expects the financial emergency will be over in the next three years.
“Financially, we still face serious challenges, but we are improving,” Roberts said. “The deficit-elimination plan says we’re going to get rid of the deficit at the end of the 2015-16 school year — and we’re on track for that — and get out of here and turn (DPS) back over to the local people to run it.”
Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed Roberts, a Democrat, to run DPS in May 2011 for one year, then reappointed him last year. Snyder has not committed to a time line for when he will announce Roberts’ replacement.
Read the rest of Chastity Pratt-Dawsey’s article on The Detroit Free Press