Detroit Schools’ Cuts Plan Approved

Matthew Dolan:

The state of Michigan approved a plan for Detroit to close about half of its public schools and increase the average size of high-school classrooms to 60 students over the next four years to eliminate a $327 million deficit.
The plan was submitted in January by Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools’ emergency financial manager, as a last-ditch scenario if the district couldn’t find new revenue sources, which it hasn’t so far. Final approval came after Mike Flanagan, the state superintendent of public instruction, cleared Mr. Bobb’s initial plan with some new requirements, including that the district not file for bankruptcy protection during Mr. Bobb’s remaining months in office.
The state approved the plan in a Feb. 8 letter, which the Detroit public-schools district released Monday.
Mr. Bobb said the deep cuts were necessary if the district hoped to be solvent again without additional state aid. But he said the strategy was ultimately ill-advised because it will likely drive even more students away, depriving the district of needed state funds, which Michigan apportions on the basis of enrollment.