Detroit schools budget calls for 10-pct. pay cut
DETROIT (AP) — Expenses in the financially struggling Detroit Public Schools would be cut by about $230 million with 853 jobs axed and employees forced to take a 10-percent pay cut under a $1.2 billion budget proposed by the district’s state-appointed emergency financial manager.
A draft of the budget was released Thursday. It also calls for $200 million to be lopped off the district’s $327 million budget deficit through the sale of long-term bonds. Another $48 million in purchased and contracted service cuts also are planned.
The district has about 4,400 teachers, and financial manager Roy Roberts has said most of their jobs will be spared.
But across-the-board job cuts will include school administrators, clerical and professional staff, counselors, teacher aides and central office supervisors.
“This budget will require us to live within our means while supporting the educational plan that’s been put in place,” Roberts said in a news release. “We must elevate the schools in terms of academics, performance and providing a safe environment for children. We have to build a first-rate system of schools that parents choose to send their children to.”
Pre-kindergarten programs will be expanded. Class sizes would drop from 33 to 30 students in fourth and fifth grades and from 38 to 35 in sixth through 12th grades.
The class size in kindergarten through third grade would remain at 25 students, while pre-kindergarten classes would still have 18 students.
The budget is based on 66,360 general and special education students. The district had 74,000 students this past school year, but its enrollment has been declining steadily.
School board President Anthony Adams warned that past efforts to balance the district’s budget and wipe out the deficit didn’t pan out.
“For the last two years it’s been the same story,” Adams said. “They all sound good. The reductions in staffing should be good, especially if he is saving teachers. The proof is in the implementation.”
State Education and Treasury officials were briefed earlier Thursday on the budget proposal. A public hearing was scheduled Monday in Detroit.
The district’s new fiscal year starts July 1.
Roberts was appointed in May by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. He replaced Robert Bobb, who held the job for two years after being appointed by Snyder’s predecessor, Democrat Jennifer Granholm.
A new state law gives Roberts and other state-appointed financial managers for municipalities and school districts more powers in dealing with union contracts.
The Associated Press left a message Thursday afternoon seeking comment from the teachers’ union.
The district also will rebid all major contracts. Purchasing and contracted services cuts include transportation, utilities and supplies.