Cities Die, One By One, To Pay for The Emperor's New Clothes
By Kate Randall
12 February 2005
Detroit parents, students and teachers reacted with shock and anger to Thursday’s announcement that 34 of the city’s public schools will close their doors this June. More than 10,000 of the district’s 140,000 students will be uprooted and shifted to different schools when the academic year ends and the facilities are shut down.
The closures are part of a plan to cut more than $560 million in expenses from the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) budget over the next five years. District officials predict that enrollment will drop by about 40,000 students during this period and say another 60 to 75 schools will need to be closed. It is estimated this latest round of cuts will save about $10 million next year.
Detroit is a city under assault. City workers and residents are still reeling from Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s announcement last month that massive cuts were on the agenda to counteract a projected $230 million shortfall in the city’s budget for fiscal year 2005-2005, which begins July 1. The mayor outlined a sweeping plan to cuts jobs, pay and benefits for city employees, reduce city services and increase taxes targeting working families and small businesses.
School officials have not indicated how many school employees will lose their jobs as a result of the new school closures. When the cuts were initially broached last November, 4,000 jobs were projected to be at stake.