Crisis Mode Persists for Detroit Schools

Matthew Dolan:

Two years after his appointment as emergency financial manager for the Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb has outsourced many services, unearthed corruption and closed a number of schools.
Yet the district’s mammoth deficit has continued to grow during amid the state’s downturn and growing pension and debt obligations, and the city’s schools are still grappling with longstanding problems, including political battles involving the state, school board and teachers’ unions and a long-term exodus by students.
With weeks left in his term, Mr. Bobb has put forth some radical ideas to overhaul the system. One would split the district into two entities to help retire its debt, along the lines of the government-engineered bankruptcy of General Motors. Another would use money from a national tobacco settlement to inject $400 million into the Detroit schools and some 40 other deficit-ridden Michigan districts. A third is modeled on post-Katrina New Orleans, where a shrunken district was remade with mostly charter schools.