DETROIT – Six hundred teacher layoffs and 23 potential school closings have been announced in Detroit Public Schools, as emergency financial manager Robert Bobb addresses a $306 million deficit, according to The Detroit News. In related news, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad has pledged funds toward a financial review and restructuring plan for the district.

Bobb said his team considered population, neighborhood development, building condition and student achievement levels before identifying schools to close, The News reported. Final decisions won’t be made until May.

The district closed 33 schools two years ago and now owns 56 vacant structures, according to The News. Bobb said he will review those for potential demolition, redevelopment or sale to charter schools. He also will ask the state to use federal stimulus money to pay for up to $200 million in upgrades to remaining buildings, The News reported.

In a separate article, the News reported that The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation will contribute about a third of the $1.4 million needed for an outside firm to review DPS finances and develop a fiscal plan for the next five years. Eli Broad, a Detroit Central High School graduate, made his fortune in the home building industry and has invested millions in education reform, the article said.

SOURCES:
The Detroit News, “Philanthropist Broad to aid Bobb, DPS,” April 8, 2009

The Detroit News, “ DPS to cut 600, close 23 schools,” April 9, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, “First class or 21st Century?,” July 14, 2008

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