No More School the Government Shuts the Doors
By Joseph Parish
Well kids now you can look forward to not having to go to school. That’s right, it was bound to happen sooner or later as the economy continually grew worse and worse but now we are hearing that within the next couple of years the Detroit School System will close the doors to over half of their schools.
Usually a classroom was designed to educate a student body of approximately 30 students but according to the Detroit spokesperson their schools will graduate increase this limit to 62 students per class. These actions are part of the emergency financial plan devised by the Department of Education to reduce expenditures by as much as $327 million dollars. Their long range goal is to ultimately eliminate the educational deficit by cutting back from 142 schools to a mere 72.
By combining the school closures with larger class attendances it is believed that these efforts would alleviate the financial burden in the event that the state lawmakers fail to restructure the necessary finances for the school district. Initially, DPS had considered filing for bankruptcy but decided against such actions. It was brought out that in the past year their debts had multiplied greatly exceeding the $100 million dollar mark. The contributing factors to this debt hinge upon the decline in collected property taxes, a vast reduction in state provided aid as well as the decline in student enrollment.
The school districts plan includes boosting the size of the classes of the lower grade school students which are estimated to save upwards of $16 million dollars. The class sizes for those lower grades would eventually increase from 17 to 31 and the scale would eventually go up in student class size as the grades increase.
All is not perfect with this plan however for according to the teacher’s contract agreement the district must compensate the various teachers for oversize classes. These payments are expected to average about $10 million dollars over a four year period. Several union officials express some doubt that such a proposal would actually materialize. Union representative condemned the increased class sizes as antithetical to learning. Beliefs are that by increasing the classroom sizes to 60 students society will end up with more uneducated children.
One proposal offered to salvage an additional $12 million dollars has been offered on the bargaining table by simply abandoning the closed school buildings. Another alternative plan is to follow the example set by New Orleans as they converted over half of their public schools into the less costly charter schools. An interesting portion of the plan would include abolishing the school districts division of finance, their legal services, the human services department as well as the public safety division.
To me these are drastic steps to take and when you analyze what is taking place here we see the Detroit School District as essentially extorting the needed funds from the state under the threat of shutting the schools down. To me this is not the proper way to handle the financial problems that they are encountering. More research should be conducted before this decision is finalized.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish