Photo courtesy of Stephen Voss (StephenVoss.com)
The state of Michigan approved a plan to close 70 schools in Detroit over the next few years in an effort to close a $327 million budget deficit.
The measure will lower the number of schools in the district in half by 2014, leaving just 72 public schools in Detroit, CNNMoney is reporting. High-school class sizes are expected to rise to 60 students each over the next few years.
The restructuring is another blow for the state, which has one of highest unemployment rates in the country and has been hurt by the recession and the decline of the once-booming auto industry.
The proposal is "driven by an absolute requirement to get to zero in a prescribed period of time and doesn't take into account issues of educational quality or viability for parents," a spokesman for Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager of the 87,000-student Detroit Public Schools, told CNNMoney.
The plan will likely drive parents away from the city’s public schools, says Bobb, a move that could exacerbate the problem, because for each student that leaves the district, the system loses $7,660 in state aid.