LANSING, Mich., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Michigan state education officials Monday ordered Detroit Public Schools to close half its schools and consolidate operations to close the budget deficit.
State officials told Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager for the Detroit Public School District, to immediately implement a restructuring plan that would increase class sizes to 60 students at whichever high schools remain after the closures, The Detroit News reported Monday.
"We are moving forward with the plan. Right now my focus is on my transition plan and the DEP (deficit elimination plan)," Bobb said Friday. Bobb filed the plan in January, saying it would eliminate a $327 million deficit by 2014. The plan would reduce the district to 72 schools to serve an estimated 58,570 students.
The district has lost 83,336 students in the past 10 years, taking with them more than $573 million in state funding, the News said. The district's budget is saddled with $53 million in pension costs, $45 million for healthcare and $27 million for utilities.