Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts will step down

Roberts will retire when contract is up on May 16; District's CFO will take up new role

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts will step down when his contract expires this month.

During a press conference Thursday, Roberts said he will leave his post May 16.

"My decision to leave was not an easy decision. The last few years have been the most rewarding of my career," Roberts said. "As far as I am concern this district is fixed."

Roberts said his wife, Maureen, has been by his side throughout his whole career and it was time to spend time together with their families.

READ: Roy Roberts' retirement letter

The head of the teacher's union says Roberts used long-term borrowing to reduce the budget deficit.

"I will give him high marks for improving safety and security. I will give him high marks for putting in structural controls that will prevent us from getting into a deficit situation, but I am not impressed with where we are academically," said President of the Detroti Federation of Teachers Keith Johnson.

Johnson says MEEP scores are up in Detroit schools, but they are still lower than 3-years-ago. One trend Roberts could not reverse was the plummeting enrollment.

DPS now only has 42 percent of the school age children in the city.

"How many people left here in the last 10 or 12 years and they do a fun thing, they take their kids with them. That's where the greatest losses came from," said Roberts.

Roberts said he initially took the job because he knew he would be able to help children get the education they deserve.

"I know the role education can play in a child's life because, quite frankly, education did more than change my life. It made a life for me," he said.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder appointed the ex-General Motors executive in 2011 for one year, then re-appointed him last year.

Roberts thanked Snyder for the "life changing" opportunity.

"This has been the absolute toughest, but it's been the absolute most rewarding," Roberts said.

The 74-year-old Roberts says recent financial and academic progress, and a five-year strategic plan, put the state's largest school district on a path toward self-governance. Roberts said he expects the financial emergency will be over in the next three years.

READ: DPS Strategic plan

Roberts said Chief Financial Officer William Aldridge is being promoted to a new role, as financial and administrative officer, in part to ensure stability.

--William Aldridge


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