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Monday, August 8, 2011

Op/Ed: For Detroit Public Schools EFM Roy Roberts, 'shared sacrifice' equals a 40K Chevy Tahoe

An Reach Out Job Search News Op/Ed

Photo Credit-ROJS News
Detroit Public Schools EFM Roy
Roberts (L) alongside Gov. Rick
Snyder-R (R); recent purchase of a
DPS funded $40K Chevy Tahoe has
raised questions about Roberts ability
to lead DPS out of its' so-called
'financial crisis'.
Speaking of the excesses of Emergency Financial Managers (EMF), Detroit Public Schools  (DPS) EMF Roy Roberts must believe 'shared sacrifice' means DPS teachers taking up to a 30% pay cut, as he is shuffled around to do his job in a SUV paid from the tax payers of Detroit.

In June, EFM Roberts announced up to $81 Million dollars’ worth of chopping and dicing to  DPS fiscal year budget.

Ironically, just one month later local news station WXYZ-Channel 7 found out the DPS district funds courtesy of Detroit’s tax payers, bought EFM Roy Roberts a brand new $40,000 Chevrolet Tahoe used to chauffer EFM Roberts across the city.

Believe it or not, Robert’s Tahoe was a “needed and necessary”shared sacrifice purchase the news station was told. 

Why? Well, the previous Dodge Durango, used by former DPS-EFM Robert Bobb (yes, the names are similar), needed “extensive maintenance”, since it has racked up 110,000 miles in four years of use. Channel 7 Video of EFM Roy Roberts story on Chevy Tahoe purchase

But, on his first day on the job in May, as DPS latest Emergency Financial Manager, Roy Roberts made it clear that under his watch the school district would be doing more with less. Its' obvious, with the vehicle purchase; Roberts didn’t mean the less would be his paid transportation expenses.
“Money is tight in this state, in this school system, in every school system,” Roberts said on May 16th. “It’s the same adjustment that you’ve had to make in your homes,” he said.
Michigan unemployment rate is 10.5% and within the city of Detroit, the jobless rate is estimated to be near 50%. For many of these former workers, the average job search takes 26 weeks or more, while driving vehicles well over 111,000 miles on the speedometer.

In light of these facts and figures, EFM Roberts’s actions with a new vehicle purchase to cart him around DPS on the back of his words to Detroit tax payers about cutting expenses might ring just a tad bit hollow.

EFM Roberts said district would be evaluating how it’s spent money in the past, and give up unnecessary frills, in previous press conferences, alongside Public Act #4 proponent and draconian cut Governor Rick Snyder (R).
“What are the things we need the most," EFM Roberts asked the parents, teachers and students in the audience. "Which ones are nice, and which can we do without?" he stated.
Roy Roberts is a retired vice-president for General Motors with no public school administrative experience, is paid $250,000 a year from the district. 

With a large triple figure salary, EFM Roberts could have purchased the new “necessary” Tahoe out of his own pocket book and thus, saved DPS finances $40,000 to pay for things like books, pencils or notebook paper for the children, of course.

EFM Roberts spokeswoman (yes, he can afford to hire a spokesperson also) told WXYZ that the decision to purchase the Tahoe was made by DPS police, citing safety concerns. 

...Random thought, since when does the Detroit Public School police unit decides what should be done with district funds in a “financial crisis”?

And saving the day from a "financial crisis" is what the Emergency Financial Manager law was for, Gov. Snyder and state Republican Super-Majority in the House and Senate that enacted Public Act #4, claimed.

According to Gov. Snyder, mandating P.A. #4 on a publically elected school district and/or a city, town, village or township in Michigan was direct enacted in law to deal an entity on the road to “financial disaster”.
“It’s a new way of doing things in terms of creating a new authority to work with schools that are failing,” said Gov. Snyder in a June 2011 Press Conference 
“It’s to focus on those failing schools, those bottom five percent of schools. The real question there is how do we get more and better resources focused on the kids in those schools?" Snyder cited.
For EFM Roy Roberts behalf, better resources for “failing schools”, equals a brand new $40K Chevy Tahoe. That's appears to be fuzzy math.

Wonder what Gov. Snyder thinks how the Tahoe purchase will help the children of Detroit Public Schools receive better resources? Any thoughts?

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