DETROIT - Eighty percent of the employees in the Detroit Public Schools curriculum department will be laid off by the end of June, while 11 cabinet-level executives will not be invited back when their contracts run out, according to The Detroit News.

Also gone due to a massive downsizing are half the district's assistant superintendents, The News reported. Transportation services and school-based security may be outsourced and a review of employee health benefits is pending, according to the report.

The announcements came from emergency financial manager Robert Bobb, who is working to eliminate a $306 million deficit, The News reported. The latest measures follow earlier action to cut dozens of principals and close 29 schools this fall.

A growing number of school districts contract with private firms to provide transportation or other support services, Michael LaFaive, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told The News. The center publishes an annual survey on privatization in Michigan schools and also publishes Michigan Education Digest.

"Millions can be saved," LaFaive said.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson told The News he was not surprised at the layoffs, saying Detroit spends more than twice as much on administration as surrounding school districts.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "Bobb boots out top DPS executives," June 4, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Survey 2008: School Service Privatization Grows Again," Aug. 14, 2008

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