Detroit Could Lay off Hundreds of Teachers, Close Schools

Detroit Could Lay off Hundreds of Teachers | Close Schools

Posted: 04/14/2009 03:21 PM EDT

In the face of a projected $303 million deficit, Detroit Public Schools may have to lay off 600 teachers and close 23 schools. These measures are part of a proposal by Michigan’s financial overseer, Robert Bobb, who was named to the position in January after the schools’ superintendent was fired in December of last year.

During this decade, the system has seen its enrollment drop to just over 95,000; almost half the enrollment the system had during the late 1990s, reports the AP. The drop could be due to families leaving Detroit and the city’s students flocking to charter schools. With Bobb’s plan, approximately 7,500 students would need to change schools.

Teachers union officials appear to back Bobb’s proposal. “He’s going to make sure teachers are equipped with the materials that they need,” Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, told the news service.

In addition, Bobb has requested $200 million from the state for improvements to the schools that will stay open. The state’s Department of Education is considering his request but has not set a timeline for a final decision, according to a spokesman.

A decision on Bobb’s proposal is set to come in early May after an April 28 town hall, reports the news service.

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