DETROIT (WWJ) – Many people are voicing their concerns over the dozens of Detroit schools expected to close over the next two years as part of the district’s deficit elimination plan. Financial manager Robert Bobb says some of the schools will become charters, but if that doesn’t happen, as many as 59 schools and buildings will close.
Many Detroiters believe this is the next phase in the dismantling of public education in the city. Wayne County Commissioner Martha Scott says shame on Robert Bobb. “Who ever heard of a financial manager coming in and not taking care of the finances. He’s getting triple, triple, triple pay that he got when he first came in here because he’s doing somebody’s business. But shame on him because it’s about our children,” says Scott.
And Scott tells WWJ Citybeat Reporter Vicki Thomas, “We’ve got to stand up to this. We cannot any longer sit by and let these things happen. Shame on us if we let this happen to our children.”
Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb will be meeting with parents and students as he tries to defend his latest list of possible school closings. Bobb says he’ll try to reason with families. “It impacts their children and their children’s education and you have to be sensitive to that. You cannot dismiss parents and their issue and their concerns when you are closing an institution that is very dear to them,” he says.
Meanwhile… there is speculation that Robert Bobb’s replacement is waiting in the wings. WDIV-TV has unnamed sources saying the Governor has tapped Vivian Carpenter, president of Atwater Entertainment Associates and the wife of Detroit casino executive Herb Strather. But the governor’s people are saying no decision has been made yet.
While the Detroit School Board says they haven’t been told of any such announcement. Board president Anthony Adams does say Carpenter would be a good hire – that she is “brilliant”, “understands politics” and would be a “positive move forward for the district.”