DETROIT (WWJ) – A harsh assessment from the Detroit Public School Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts to the crowd gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club for Pancakes and Politics Thursday morning. He said the DPS financial system is broken.
“It’s broken. There’s no other cute way to say it. If we don’t like that… we ought to change it,” Roberts said. “People accept, in this system, failure as a norm. I don’t accept that,” Roberts said.
He said the first steps to recovery are creating control, learning how to manage it and establishing accountability.
“When I have 31 people reporting to me, I can’t handle it. That span of control is too wide. And when you see 31 people reporting to anybody at a level like this, you better know that controls are not in place. We’re going to put some controls in place, we’re going to fix it so we can manage it in a great way and put accountability in the system,” Roberts said.
Switching his focus to the DPS teaching staff, Roberts told the crowd teachers in the system need to have special training to work with Detroit’s students.
“They’re different kinds of students. They come to us with different kinds of problems. There are a lot of little Roy Roberts in this system and they need help, they need special help. We need teachers who are trained in an urban environment that understand and know how to educate our kids,” Roberts said.
He said the system is full of effective teachers and administrators, but those who are not producing will have to answer to him.
“Those people that are good in the system, we want to give them even more support to be more successful. And if we run into a person that is not good and they’re hurting our kids, we’ll ask if there’s a deficiency of knowledge or a deficiency of knowhow. If we can fix it we will, if we can’t we’ll remove them from the system,” Roberts said.
While he cannot give details on the new school budget until it’s presented to the State Board of Education, Roberts gave the audience a preview of what’s to come saying, “you’re going to see a lot of the $327 million deficit disappear.”
Roberts plans to make the presentation to state leaders Thursday.