Roy Roberts to retire as emergency financial manager of Detroit schools

May 4, 2013 by

DETROIT – Detroit’s public school district has been an academic and financial mess for years.

It took a strong man with broad powers to improve the situation.

That man was Roy Roberts, a retired General Motors executive who was tabbed by Gov. Rick Snyder two years ago to serve as Detroit Public Schools’ emergency financial manager.

Most observers agree that Roberts has the district moving in the right direction, financially and academically. While there are still major problems to be dealt with, the positive developments under Roberts’ watch have provided new hope for the future.

But the district will have to continue the progress without Roberts’ assistance. The 74-year-old announced Thursday that he will step down from his post as emergency manager in two weeks, according to the Detroit News.

Gov. Snyder has not indicated when he will choose a replacement.

When Roberts was appointed, DPS faced a daunting $327 million budget deficit. Roberts attacked that problem with a variety of actions, including the sale of bonds, imposing a 10 percent pay cut on employees, laying off some staff and closing some schools.

The deficit now stands at $76 million, and the state legislature recently approved a plan submitted by Roberts to eliminate that shortfall by 2016.

Academics are also on the upswing. Last year the DPS graduation rate rose to 64 percent, its highest rate in six years, but still well below the state average of 76 percent. The district also saw improved student scores in 17 of 18 categories on the Michigan Education Assessment Program tests last year, although the scores remained below state averages.

“His problem-solving skills, expertise and strong management and leadership abilities have tremendously benefited the students, teachers, administrators and families of the Detroit Public Schools as well as the neighborhoods, city and region,” Snyder said of Roberts.

via Roy Roberts to retire as emergency financial manager of Detroit schools – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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