Detroit’s School Chief Decides Not to Resign — Yet

Roy S. Roberts, who has led the Detroit public schools for two years, has decided to remain in his office for six more months.

Posted: 05/16/2013 12:42 PM EDT
Detroit's School Chief Decides Not to Resign--Yet

Roy S. Roberts, the emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools, has decided to remain in his position for as long as six additional months instead of resigning Thursday, as he initially planned.

Roberts, a longtime executive with the General Motors Corporation who is considered an African-American pioneer in the corporate world, was appointed by the governor of Michigan two years ago. His decision to stay longer than his original departure date in mid-May was reflected in statements released this week.

He said in a statement that he had asked to remain on the job, a proposal agreed to by Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.

"Roy’s devotion to the students, families and teachers of Detroit Public Schools has been apparent since his appointment in 2011," Snyder said, in a statement. "His willingness to delay his personal plans and continue providing critical vision and leadership to the district for the next six months underscores that commitment."

In a recent interview, Roberts spoke of the progress he had made since coming to lead the troubled school system two years ago.

"I’m really excited about what we have accomplished in the last two years," Roberts said, in an interview with BET.com.

"We have balanced two budgets which hasn’t been done in 14 years. We have a staff of committed Detroiters who are committed to turning this thing around," he added. "And the test scores from kindergarten to eighth grade have improved for every level except the fifth grade."

Under Roberts’ stewardship, the school system’s deficit has been reduced to $76 million and a number of the school system’s poor performing schools were transferred into a new school system, with a completely different administration.

But the school system remains highly troubled. Since 2009, it has lost more than 100,000 students, with many children attending charter schools and private schools in Detroit. Today there are roughly 53,000 students enrolled in the school system, a number that is expected to decline to 40,000 by 2016, school officials said.


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(Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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