Skip to comments.Shrinking population, heavy debt make turnaround tough for Detroit schools
Posted on 07/23/2013 3:38:34 AM PDT by IbJensen
(Jack Martin speaks after being named the Detroit Public Schools' newest emergency manager by Governor Rick Snyder at Davison Elementary-Middle School Auditorium in Detroit on July 15.)
Michigans governor on July 15 appointed a seasoned financial guru to run Detroits ailing public school district, a move that many observers hailed as a saving grace for the city's classrooms in decline.
Three days later, Detroit filed for bankruptcy.
Jack Martin, who took office as emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools last Monday, is now tasked with overhauling Motown's rusting educational system during a period of economic calamity.
Roy Roberts, Martins predecessor and a former General Motors executive, had signaled earlier this year that he would leave his post.
And although Roberts made key strides including dragging down the deficit by $251 million and ramping up graduation rates by five percent the Detroit public schools system is nonetheless in rough shape, according to Professor Elizabeth Moje of the University of Michigan School of Education.
And thats been the case for years.
The district was in dire straits long before the bankruptcy, Moje said.
One of the biggest problems facing the school system: Detroits dramatically shrinking population. The economic collapse has reduced the sprawling metropolis to a veritable ghost town.
The citys population plunged by over a quarter of a million between 2000 and 2010, to just over 700,000 people, according to The Associated Press.
What does that mean for public schools? Population projections suggest that, by 2016, public school enrollment will slip to just 40,000 kids, according to the AP a relatively meager number for a once-bustling American city.
These schools are enormous, said Moje. But inside, theres very few students.
Martin said last Monday that boosting enrollment will be a top priority during his time overseeing public schools.
Ill first focus on starting school on time and without incident, Martin said. Enrollment is a major focus.
Whats more, Detroits public schools are weighed down by mountains of debt, according to Moje. School administrators are sometimes forced to dip into the budget reserved for school resources to cover old debts, she added.
Schools of today have less money to spend on their students because theyre paying off the debts of yesteryear, she said.
Thats one of the reasons why state officials declared a financial state of emergency in public schools across Detroit in late 2008, five years before billions of dollars of debt forced the city to file Chapter 9, according to Terry Stanton, the communications director at the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Four other Michigan school districts have received the same grim prognosis and all are now overseen by emergency financial managers, rather than traditional administrators, such as a superintendent, Stanton said.
Martin, 74, a certified public accountant, is the third emergency manager to preside over Detroits public schools since 2009. He has a lengthy resume at the intersection of finance and public policy most notably, stints as the CFO of the U.S. Department of Education and CFO of the city of Detroit itself which makes him a good fit for the numbers-crunching business of budget administration.
The opportunity will allow me to continue offering leadership and making a positive impact in the Detroit community, Martin said in a statement. Fixing education in Detroit is foundational to addressing the myriad of other critical issues facing our communitylocally and statewide.
(A teacher works with students at Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology in Detroit in 2011.)
It remains to be seen if the confluence of Detroits bankruptcy and the city's public schools' woes will force officials to shutter more schools, as they did at a staggering rate during a budget-balancing wave in 2011, according to Moje.
Martin, widely seen as a financial wizard, may find a way around closing the doors to classrooms across the struggling city. And yet, ultimately, we shouldn't treat public education strictly as a "numbers game," Moje said.
"Everybody is worried about the numbers and the money, but the bottom line is that we also need to think about improving the quality of teaching and learning in these classrooms."
They're not smart enough to fix the real problems. Enter Jack Martin, "a seasoned financial guru" who is not what this diseased system and city needs. Notice that the one school where a seemingly dedicated teacher attempts to teach in a school that's named Timbuktu. Timbuktu? That's in Africa and that is what's wrong with Detroit today: too much Africa!
These sub-standard schools, like many other systems in America, are top heavy with administrators and bloated union payrolls that guarantee substandard performance. This calamity is a memorial to a stupid federal judge: Robert DiMascio - who in his brilliance ordered busing to bring about integration at federal gunpoint causing white people to flee. White people will never willingly integrate and such integration will prove only one thing: if you mix clean water with dirty water you just get more dirty water. The unions destroyed the town just like they tried through their failed methods to destroy Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh didn't give up on their town.
This is exactly what happens when you run out of other peoples money: crime went up and more people moved thereby letting the gangstas support a city where no one works but many inhabitants think Obama owes them bacon for their vote.
I don’t think people in Detroit want a turnaround; they are content will the liberal status quo and shall remain so.
I do not think we will see Detroit bouncing back anytime in the near future. It took years to get to the point they now “enjoy” and it will take even more years to crawl out of the hole they are in.
PS.....”Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology”?
Who in their right mind would name a school after a “desert” city in Africa.........Never mind, the question answered itself.
Here’s a timeline of events that led to the destruction of this city:
1960s Detroit city, MI......... 1,670,144 5th largest city
Sept. 61: In Detroit, U.S. District Judge John Feikens dismisses a suit brought against the Highland Park school board by a group of parents and a neighborhood improvement association. The dispute involved charges of racial segregation in the assignment of pupils to Thomson Elementary School.
Oct. 62: James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Riots at the campus leave two people dead.
June 63 Martin Luther King delivers speech in Detroit. I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
Aug. 63: March on Washington draws more than 200,000 demonstrators in support of civil rights legislation. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his I Have a Dream speech.
July 64: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act outlawing segregation in public schools, restaurants and other public facilities.
1965: Westland Mall opens; unlike Northland and Eastland, shopping center is enclosed
July 67 Riots break out in Detroit at 12th and Claremont. 43 dead and the 101 Airborne called in.
1968: City’s income tax doubles to 2 percent for Detroiters.
April 4, 1968 Dr. King is assassinated as he stands talking on the balcony of his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He dies in St. Josephs Hospital from a gunshot wound in the neck.
July 68 Mini Riot in Detroit. Begins at Cass Tech
Oct, 68 Detroit Tigers win the World Series
Early 69: Black attorney Elbert L. Hatchett, then president of the Oakland County NAACP, files suit in federal court, complaining that Pontiac schools are deliberately segregated. Schools are either 90 percent white or 90 percent black.
1970s Detroit city, MI......... 1,511,482 5th Largest City
In 1971, Irene McCabe spearheaded the National Action Group, which sought to block busing-based desegregation.
Feb. 70: U.S. District Judge Damon J. Keith finds Pontiac has violated the 14th Amendment by segregating its public schools. Judge Keith rules that Pontiac schools were intentionally segregated, and orders the district to bus pupils to achieve integration. School officials appeal and succeed in delaying the busing order.
April, 70: The Detroit school board adopts a desegregation plan altering attendance boundaries of 12 high schools.
Aug., 70: The NAACP files suit challenging the constitutionality of a state law overturning the Detroit desegregation plan. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Stephen Roth. The suit, Bradley v. Milliken, encompasses the question of whether Detroit schools intentionally segregated students.
1971; S.T.R.E.S.S Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets unit formed by the Detroit Police Department
1971: Catholic Archdiocese closes 62 schools.
April 71: The U.S. Supreme Court authorizes the use of busing to desegregate public schools in North Carolinas Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.
May, 71: The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Keith’s decision. The Pontiac board votes to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but agrees to implement a busing plan in the meantime. Opponents continue efforts to block busing by petitioning Congress to pass a law banning busing for racial balance. The movement is spearheaded by a local homeowners’ group called the National Action Group (NAG), led by housewife Irene McCabe. McCabe insists that she and her followers aren’t anti-integration only against busing to achieve it.
July 71: The Citizen’s Committee for Better Education files a motion with Judge Roth to include as defendants in the integration case 85 school districts in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The group contends Detroit schools cannot be racially integrated unless whites from outside the district are included.
Aug. 71: After Judge Keith orders Pontiac to desegregate, a group of Ku Klux Klansmen blows up the buses that Pontiac needs to integrate the schools.
Sept. 71: Judge Roth rules that Detroit schools are segregated because of the actions and inactions of local and state officials contrary to the U.S. Constitution and schedules a conference to discuss remedies.
Oct. 71: Judge Roth orders the state to prepare a desegregation plan that could include some or all of the 86 school districts in the Metro Detroit area. He also directs the Detroit school board to prepare integration plans for Detroit schools.
1972: Kmart Corp. moves headquarters from Detroit to Troy
1972 L.Brooks Patterson elected Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney, 1972-88
1972: Jeffries Freeway, Interstate-96, opens.
Nov 73 : Coleman A. Young elected Mayor of Detroit
June 74: A federal judge orders school busing in Boston. The decision, aimed at achieving racial balance in the citys public schools, triggers rioting.
July 74: In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Judge Roth. The ruling put an end nationally to attempts to integrate urban schools with suburban children. The court did order Detroit’s schools desegregated an order that many believe sent the city’s
1975: The Pontiac Silverdome opens, and hosts the Detroit Lions and Pistons as well as rock concerts, religious rallies and tractor pulls.
Nov. 75: U.S. District Judge Robert DeMascio rules city must begin integration. He angers the NAACP by ordering a “modest” desegregation plan involving the busing of 13,200 black students and 8,800 white students and reassigning 8,000 students based on boundary changes.
Jan. 76: 22,000 children board buses and the desegregation of the Detroit schools begins.
1976 Oakland County Child Killer rampage begins.
June 78: The Supreme Court declares that colleges can use race as a factor in admissions but bars the use of quotas.
1980s Detroit city, MI......... 1,203,339 6th largest city
Aug. 81: Congress, at the urging of President Reagan’s administration, repeals the federal law that funded school desegregation efforts.
1981: Detroit schools prepare to expand busing for further racial integration;
1981: Ferndale schools begins busing.
1981 Wayne County Board of Commissioners orders Sheriff William Lucas to close the Wayne County Road Patrol Section.
1982 William Lucas elected first Wayne County Executive. Board of Commissioners disbanded
1983: Hudson’s closes its flagship store, ending 102 years downtown.
1988: The federal district court relinquishes oversight of city schools desegregation.
1988: L. Brooks Patterson Elected Oakland County Executive
1988: The Palace of Auburn Hills opens as the new home of the Pistons.
1989: Walter Reuther Freeway, I-696, becomes major east-west corridor.
1989: 27 Catholic churches close in Detroit, the largest mass closing of Catholic churches in U.S. history.
1990s Detroit city, MI......... 1,027,974 7th Largest City
1991: Chrysler Corp. headquarters moves from Highland Park to Auburn Hills
1992: Governor’s commission calls lack of coordinated planning a major environmental threat.
Nov, 1992 Black motorist Malice Green was pulled over for a traffic stop on November 5, 1992. Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn were charged with murder and convicted.
1993: Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer takes office, promising downtown redevelopment and an era of cooperation with suburbs.
1993 810 area code is implemented, breaking away Oakland and Macomb counties from 313
1994: Republican caucus in state House draws up 21-point plan for improving planning and growth management. Eight years later, little has been implemented.
1994: Detroit voters pass $1.5 billion to repair deteriorating schools. It is the largest bond issue in state history.
1996: Compuware announces plans to move world headquarters from Farmington Hills to downtown Detroit.
1996: Michigan raises gas tax to pay for crumbling roads and freeways.
1997 248 Area Code is implemented for Oakland County
1999: Casinos open in Detroit, drawing some suburbanites back downtown for the first time in a generation.
June 95: The Supreme Court says Missouri may stop making improvements to schools in the heavily black Kansas City school system to attract white students from suburbs. Ruling signaled high court’s willingness to end desegregation programs.
2000s Detroit population: 950,000
2001: 30-year fixed mortgage rates fall under 6.5%, the lowest rates in 30 years.
2001: African-American Brenda Lawrence is elected mayor of Southfield, signaling suburbanization of black political power.
2001: Planning reform stalls in Michigan Legislature.
2002: Formerly rural South Lyon, Brighton and Howell are combined in a new federally designated urban area.
June 03: The Supreme Court, in a University of Michigan case, rules that colleges can favor minorities in admissions.
Busing is a whole different issue than integration.
Everybody (well, most) want to live in a good neighborhood with good schools and some folks make the move.
Wake County Schools here in NC is the prime example of busing. Blacks and Whites move to a good area blocks from a good school, the school board wiggles the busing zones and the white kids are placed on a bus and given an hour ride downtown to an inner city school.
Been going on for over 10 years.
Some R’s ran time before last on ending busing. They won and the media hit them like a ton of bricks - they were gone the next election.
The next fall busing was back and the parents were complaining.
It is easier and less stressful to live for “free” in squalor than it is to work your way out of it. The politicians are happy, the peasants are happy, win - win.
I think Mogadishu would be more appropriate than Timbuktu
Boston, with the same population as Detroit, has 57,000 currently enrolled in public schools. Detroit has 66,000 in public school and additional 56,000 in charter schools. Boston use to have more than 150,000 in public schools thirty years ago. San Francisco with a higher population has 53,000 public school students.
Schools of today have less money to spend on their students because theyre paying off the debts of yesteryear, she said.
Don’t buy into the shrinking population argument. The city I live in (Topeka), while it certainly has its problems, is no Detroit. We’ve got 130k in 53 square miles. Detroit’s population is more dense at 700k in 140 square miles. The schools are trash for reasons other than sparse population.
Look at the way the teacher is dressed as opposed to how the students are dressed. Ridiculous.
He be a Tanganyikan.
Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology
Unless these kids are training to work in Sub Saharan Africa , a dashiki is not appropriate garb for a teacher.In fact, I don’t think that as many people in Sub Saharan Africa dress like that any more.
It’s ‘amazing’, isn’t it, that those taxpayer-funded ‘contracts’ doled out never had the $$ to back them up (most of it paid out to get the kick-backs). Nor, that I have read, is there anything about reducing based on population/taxes received.
Here in Jax we’re currently running the same game. During the BOOMS, gov’t grows = taxes get raised. But, when the LOWS come, well, now we have to raise taxes to pay for the ‘new now’ of bloated gov’t. No talks on reducing anything, just more $$.
Imagine the sort of person that would live in Detroit and send their children to Detroit Public Schools. Now breed them together. The brightest of the spawn will leave as soon as they can, to give their children a chance to live in a better place. The least bright who, on average, are dumber than their parent’s generation because their brightest have left, now breed. The cycle repeats. Every generation, the best and brightest leave, the worst and dumbest stay. Every generation, Detroit sets new records for failure and stupidity.
You can’t fix Detroit, because it’s not Detroit that is broken, it is the people, and it is politically incorrect to “fix” people. There are a lot of Detroits.
e’ve seen some of the results already, but they’re still shocking, especially in light of the district’s estimated $259 million budget deficit:
1,545 DPS employees had ineligible dependents on the staff, costing the district an estimated $2.6 million.
The district arrested at least 20 people in the last three weeks for stealing $150,000 in equipment from schools
Three community groups leased space from the district but had stopped paying rent or had the utilities still in DPS’ name.
DPS was paying a national insurance company to cover grandfathered employees the insurance company could not name.
DPS was paying a company to negotiate Medicade payments. They were pulling in $5 or $6 million when the district should be eligible for at least $60 million.
And they want the taxpayers to bail them out from this crap...
Longer than 10 years:
Is this really a resume enhancer, all things in Detroit and department of education, being?
General Motors executive....a resume downer for Roy Roberts.
GM and Detroit public schools - if I were Roy, I'd probably leave both of those off my resume.