Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has appointed Robert C. Bobb, a Washington, D.C., consultant, as the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools. Bobb will have all authority over the district's $1.1-billion budget. The state had declared that the Detroit system was in a financial emergency because of a $129-million deficit and struggles to pay bills. Bobb has served as Washington's city administrator, deputy mayor and as homeland security adviser. He has managed a workforce of approximately 20,000 and an annual budget of $8 billion, according to Granholm's office. He also served as the city manager of Oakland, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; Santa Ana, Calif., and Kalamazoo, Mich.
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EARLIER: One of the two finalists to lead a state-mandated financial takeover of Detroit Public Schools is a principal in an accounting firm that has an ongoing contract with the district, drawing concerns about a potential conflict of interest. Jack Martin, chairman of Martin, Arrington, Desai & Meyers, P.C, says he believes his firm's contract for Medicaid reimbursement and billing, which netted more than $700,000 in fiscal year 2007-08, wouldn't harm his efforts to overhaul the ailing system.
To read The Detroit News article, click here. Detroit school board members have voted against going to court to fight the state's bid to take over the system's finances. The board's vote comes a day after Michigan's top education official identified two nominees under consideration to serve as the district's emergency financial manager. The manager will have broad authority over all fiscal decisions in the district for at least a year, including budgeting and contract negotiations. The state concluded last year that Detroit's finances were in such disarray that the district should be declared in financial emergency. To read The Detroit News article, click here. SIDEBAR: Detroit Public Schools' labor unions say they're ready to sit down at the bargaining table with whomever Gov. Jennifer Granholm chooses as financial manager for the district.
To read The Detroit Free Press article, click here.

FROM DECEMBER 2008: Detroit Public Schools officials tried to convince state Superintendent Mike Flanagan that by state law, he must grant them more time to contest his decision to take over the district's finances. And they promised to fight his decision in court, if necessary. Flanagan gave little response, except to say he will decide by the end of the year whether to confirm or revoke his determination that an emergency financial manager needs to be appointed.
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EARLIER: The attorney hired as acting superintendent for Detroit Public Schools should be in that role for only about three weeks while the district vets other candidates for the post left empty when the school board fired Superintendent Connie Calloway. The district's top lawyer, Teresa Gueyser, is familiar with the legal budget reporting requirements under a consent agreement with the state.
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The Detroit Board of Education has voted 7-4 to fire Superintendent Connie Calloway, ending her tenure after less than 18 months on the job. Calloway called the board's decision to fire her unjust and said the board was trying to silence her attempts to bring fiscal integrity to the troubled district.
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Detroit school board members poised to oust Superintendent Connie Calloway have divergent ideas about what kind of leader should replace her -- from a seasoned district administrator to a nontraditional candidate like a retired military general. Some board members increasingly blame Calloway and her staff for the district's mounting money woes. The board hired Calloway 17 months ago from a 5,700-student Missouri district.
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EARLIER: Members of the Detroit school board say they have the votes to fire Superintendent Connie Calloway, but they don't want to do so until they have a commitment from a preferred replacement whom they've not yet named. Board members say the pool of internal candidates has been depleted because administrators have retired or been pushed out since Calloway started in July 2007.
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The Detroit school board has voted 6-5 to fire the district's chief financial officer, Joan McCray, while Superintendent Connie Calloway's fate was delayed until Monday. At a meeting that stretched into the early morning hours, the school board discussed a resolution to terminate Calloway for cause, saying she failed in her responsibilities, exhibited poor judgment, failed to ensure fiscal integrity in the district and continued to show unprofessional behavior. Board members plan to consider the resolution at a special meeting Monday.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.

The Michigan Department of Education has determined that Detroit Public Schools' financial operation is in such disarray that an emergency financial manager is being appointed to take over the system's finances. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan made that decision by declaring the district is in a "financial emergency." According to state law, an emergency financial manager will be appointed to assume all financial authority in the district. Flanagan notified Detroit Board of Education President Carla Scott that he made his decision after the district failed to abide by the conditions and detail called for in a consent agreement with the state.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.

ALSO: Control of Detroit's $1.1-billion school budget will shift to a state-appointed manager who--by controlling every dime that's spent--could end up controlling all of the district's actions. To read The Detroit Free Press article, click here.
EDITORIAL: If Detroit Public Schools can't even get the paperwork right for its financial recovery plan, how can it be trusted to properly execute the plan? The district purported to send documents to the state last week detailing how it will meet its obligations under a state consent agreement. But when the paperwork arrived in the offices of the state superintendent of schools, someone -- and no one can say who right now -- crossed out the words "deficit elimination plan" and replaced them with the words "revised budget reduction strategy update." Detroit Public Schools is continuing to play silly games even as its own survival and its children's academic well-being are at stake. The district is expected to run out of money by January.
To read The Detroit News editorial, click here.

The Detroit school district appears to have violated its state consent agreement requiring detailed budget reports, which could put the district at heightened risk that the state will take over its financial operations. The district submitted a report to the state showing the district owes $21 million for bills of $10,000 or more that were at least 30 days overdue. Only bills of $10,000 or more are required to be listed. However, the report may be incomplete because it does not list several vendors that have publicly complained they are owed money by the district.
To read The Detroit Free Press article, click here.

Michigan's top education official approved a financial agreement with Detroit Public Schools that helps the district to avert a state takeover of its finances -- for now. But Mike Flanagan, the state superintendent for public instruction, accepted the consent agreement with reservations, saying he is giving the district "one final chance to get its affairs in order." The agreement outlines a host of strict reporting requirements and mandated budget cuts. Later in the day, the Detroit board approved a revised deficit elimination document to drastically trim the budget through $173 million in cuts this fiscal year. The district plans to cut textbook purchases, close up to 18 schools by next school year and 63 by 2013, cut at least 400 more administrators and noninstructional staff, and trim hours for literacy coaches, counselors and other instructional specialists.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.

The Detroit district is considering making poor high school students pay nearly $300 for bus transportation and cutting back on textbook purchases as part of a sweeping two-year deficit elimination plan aimed at staving off a financial takeover by the state. The district also is weighing closing up to 18 schools by next school year, cutting at least 400 more administrators and noninstructional staff, and trimming hours for literacy coaches, counselors and other instructional specialists who assist teachers in the classroom. To read The Detroit News article, click here. The Detroit school district wants to sell 12 closed schools and three vacant parcels. The properties will be sold as-is, and no interior inspections will be permitted before acceptance of a deposit and proposal. To read The Detroit Free Press article, click here.

FROM NOVEMBER 2008: The U.S. and Michigan departments of education have weighed in to stress the need for stability in the top administration of the Detroit district, a move that troubled some school board members. Mike Radke, assistant director in the Office of School Improvement, issued a letter saying that Superintendent Connie Calloway and Chief Financial Officer Joan McCray have been essential to meeting terms of a federal action plan. School board member Marie Thornton says the state's letter sounds like a "threat," especially as several board members have publicly stated that they believe McCray lacks the skills to oversee the district's finances.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.

EARLIER: Several Detroit Public Schools board members say they could benefit from outside assistance to meet the deadlines in a state-imposed agreement on how to improve the system's finances, but they don't agree on how to move forward. Their differences over how to proceed became apparent this week after the board scheduled, and then abruptly canceled, a meeting to consider a $3.5 million contract to help them develop a deficit elimination plan. By Dec. 5, Mike Flanagan, the state superintendent of public instruction, must decide whether to accept the consent agreement. If he doesn't accept it, an emergency financial manager could be appointed to take over the system's finances, a move board members adamantly oppose. To read The Detroit News, click here.

Michigan's top education official made a surprise visit to a Detroit school board meeting to outline his concerns about the district's money woes and answer questions before deciding whether a state financial takeover is necessary. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan addressed the board just weeks before he must decide whether to accept a 15-page document from a state review team and avert a financial takeover of the cash-strapped school system. To read The Detroit News article, click here.

The Detroit school board has approved a sweeping plan mandated by a state review team on how the system must address its massive financial problems in an effort to avert a state takeover of the district's finances. The consent agreement requires the district to submit details within four weeks on how it will reduce staffing, wages, purchasing and other expenditures to eliminate its deficit -- now projected at $124 million for fiscal year 2008.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.

Many financial experts, parents and school officials say a state review team's sweeping demands for Detroit Public Schools to improve its finances are reasonable, but the district may have to make radical changes in leadership and other areas to avert a state financial takeover. Several experts say many of the reporting requirements outlined in the proposed agreement are standard practices that all school districts should follow, but some have questioned whether the troubled school system can fully comply within the timeframe outlined by the reviewers.
To read The Detroit News article, click here.