Read this revealing report on Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. The 28-page document from Detroit activist Russ Bellant comes not a moment too soon, as the Michigan legislature considers bills that would prolong the undemocratic rule of Detroit schools by a Governor-appointed emergency manager. The state Senate will vote March 8 on laws that would allow emergency managers to void collective bargaining agreements.
Bellant’s report tells the story of a decade-long process through which state takeovers have robbed the Detroit school district–Bobb is only the most recent antagonist. The report traces Bobb’s career as city manager and consultant, always a shill for construction and development interests (Alongside massive school closures Bobb has engineered numerous new school construction projects in a city full of empty, usable school buildings). In Detroit, he has cynically posed as an anti-corruption crusader, making up false stories about “ghost employees” collecting paychecks in the district, while shelling out lucrative contracts to his past political supporters and former employers.
His job in Detroit was to balance the books–he has ballooned the deficit and continued the district’s downward spiral by closing schools and lowering enrollment (and therefore funding), while opening the district to non-union charter operators to fill the gaps.
Democrat Granholm was happy to facilitate the pillaging of Detroit schools when she hired Bobb. The right-wing legislature seems determined to seal the deal. Detroit teachers are skipping school and going to Lansing tomorrow to urge a “No” vote on a series of bills as serious as the attacks on public workers in Wisconsin. Each legislator should find a copy of this report on their desk.