Detroit's school board and Robert Bobb play nice

Oct 15, 2010

The Detroit Free Press reports that after Robert Bobb's clashes with the Detroit school board, things at least looked a little better at last night's school board meeting:

The Detroit school board and its state-appointed emergency financial manager appeared to mend fences Thursday night, agreeing to work to position the school board to regain budgetary authority.

At the end of 2008, state officials said the Detroit school board couldn't manage it's finances and declared a financial emergency.

In March of 2009, Governor Granholm appointed Robert Bobb to become the district's emergency financial manager. Bobb's task was to turn around the district's financial picture, but he and members of the Detroit school board have clashed over how to do it.

Bobb has closed schools and trimmed employees to try to reduce the deficit.

Today, the district is facing a $332 million deficit (on the DPS website, it says the deficit was "projected to peak at $305.8 million by June 2009").

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported that Bobb plans to present two options to the state:

"Plan A" would have the state bail the school district out of its $332 million dollar deficit, in exchange for sweeping reforms along the lines of New Orleans' dramatic overhaul. "Plan B" paints a dire picture with a hundred schools closing, and high school lecture halls with more than 60 students.

Robert Bobb's term as emergency financial manager is supposed to end on February 28th, 2011 (there's a clock on the website counting down his remaining days). At that point, the Detroit school board will take financial control again.

In the Free Press article, LaMar Lemmons III, chairman of the finance committee, said he looks forward to taking control back, but said

"I don't want to be tied with decisions made by the emergency financial manager that we may or may not agree with."