Detroit Public Schools EM Roy Roberts is retiring in mid-May - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Detroit Public Schools EM Roy Roberts is retiring in mid-May

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Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts announced he is stepping down at a news conference on Thursday. Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts announced he is stepping down at a news conference on Thursday.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Roy Roberts has been Detroit Public Schools' emergency manager for two years.  Now he is retiring.  Why?  He says the job is done.

"When Governor Snyder approached me about taking this position we agreed together, Maureen and I, that we had to do this.  We had to take this on," Roberts said Thursday.

Under his watch, the district slashed spending and implemented a plan that will have the district in the black by 2016.  MEAP scores are rising in certain areas, and the district has a strategy designed to make DPS stronger and more attractive to Detroit families.

Roberts promoted DPS CFO William Aldridge to chief administrative officer.  He will be second-in-command to the next emergency manager.

Snyder released a statement saying, in part, "Detroiters and Michiganders alike can be thankful for Roy's leadership over the past two years as we continue to improve the city's educational system."

"I've done a lot of things in my life, lots of positions, had some real challenges, this has been one of the toughest, but it's been absolutely the most rewarding," Roberts said.

But critics say Roberts is making his exit just as the governor is taking heat over a secret work group crafting a voucher-like system to use technology to lower the cost of educating children, and DPS is facing questions over a multi-million dollar loan the cash-strapped district made to the newly created EAA with no board approval.

"As Detroit knows, it can always get worse," said DPS Board Member Elena Herrada.  "There absolutely is a plan to dismantle DPS, and it will be dismantled."

But DPS says that $6 million loan didn't affect the district's cash flow and is being repaid.

Bottom line, Roberts stands by his work, and he did recommend someone as his replacement, but the decision is up to the governor.

"What I'd like for the governor to do, and I think we're on track, identify that person, let's do it now, and I want to spend the next two weeks with that person, and if that person wanted me to be of assistance on the computer, on the phone, I'd do it, but I got no business going back into the district," Roberts said.

Roberts' last day is May 16.  Meanwhile, the governor says he will interview candidates and find the best person for the job.

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Detroit Public Schools provided the following statement to Fox 2 about the $6 million loan to the EAA:

Detroit Public Schools provided $6 million in financing to the Education Achievement Authority from borrowed funds at the request of the state. DPS agreed to the state's request because the students in the systems are Detroit students and as former DPS students deserve a smooth educational transition during this time period. Under the agreement with Eastern Michigan University which created the EAA, DPS can provide advances and services to the EAA. DPS' borrowing and the transaction with the EAA has been transparently and publicly reported through its Deficit Elimination Plan. The district's cash flow was not affected and all costs associated with the borrowing, including staff time for services connected with the securing of the funds, are being paid by the EAA in accordance with an agreement between DPS and the EAA. Repayments including principal, interest and fees began on March 26, with a payment of $1,212,808.60. The terms of repayment require all payments to be complete by July 2013. Separately, EAA payments to DPS on leases, approximately $10 million annually based on enrollment, is required to be paid in August.

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