DPS won’t release draft budget

DETROIT — Two school board members want Detroit Public Schools to publicly release the 2011-2012 draft budget it submitted to the state, saying taxpayers have a right to know the details, The Detroit News reported.

The district is under emergency financial management and declined to release a copy of the spending plan to The News, the paper reported.  District spokesman Steve Wasko called it a “working discussion draft,” which Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis said is under review, according to The News. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for June 23, the report said.

Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts is expected to make final decisions soon on school closures, layoffs and service consolidations as the district tries to work its way out of deficit, according to The News.

Board President Anthony Adams and board member Elena Herrada called for the draft to be released, according to The News, though under the terms of emergency financial management, the board currently has no fiscal authority.

“Although we have no oversight, they have a responsibility to share the budget,” Adams said.

Russ Bellant, parent of a DPS graduate, told The News that the draft should be made public so that taxpayers can be part of the discussion and planning process.

Keith Johnson, president of Detroit Federation of Teachers, told The News that he has not seen the draft, but that it is based on a district of 68,000 students, down from the current 73,000.

The Detroit News, “Board: Take wraps off Detroit Schools draft budget filed with state,” June 2, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Center Study Compares Financial Data for Michigan’s Urban, Suburban, Town and Rural School Districts,” May 31, 2011