Education
3:31 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager retiring

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools announced his retirement today. 

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Roy Roberts to manage the state's largest school system in 2011.

He followed Robert Bobb, who was appointed emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools by former Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Robert Bobb, Former Emergency Manager at DPS
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Since Roberts took over, DPS has achieved two consecutive balanced budgets with operating surpluses. 

The district also reduced its legacy deficit from $327 million to $72 million. 

He credits a major culture change for reducing the deficit.

“Culture will eat strategy for breakfast,” he said. “If you don’t change the culture you haven’t done anything.  This culture has changed right before my eyes, not because the people were bad, but we let people be as great as they could possibly be.”

Roberts promised to offer whatever support his successor would find helpful.

“I’ll always be committed to Detroit Public Schools," he told reporters at a press conference, “and I’ll always try to help whoever is running it.  But I don’t want to meddle.  You can get in the way.  I don’t want to do that.”

Roberts says he wants to spend more time with his wife and family.

“Every time I tell her that I’m going to retire, and I’ve done it, I think, three times now, she believes me.  Well this time, I really mean it.  It’s time for me to retire and go spend some time with her,” he said.

Roberts says he’s confident in the future of DPS.  “We have a deficit elimination plan registered with the state, accepted by the state, and we indicated we will be out of a deficit situation in the 2015-16 school year.”

After his contract expires on May 16, Roberts says his first stop will be the golf course.

Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom.