Since taking the position as Detroit Public Schools' emergency financial planner, Robert Bobb has pushed for extensive reforms to cut the huge budget deficit hanging over the Michigan school system.
With his latest proposal, Bobb is hoping to convince state legislators to redirect $400 million in tobacco revenue to help dig schools out of their current financial state.
According to The Detroit News,
Without the financial assistance, Bobb said DPS -- steeped in a $327 million deficit -- would have to implement more "draconian cuts" such as reducing the number of schools by half, increasing class sizes to 62 in high schools and boosting fees to play sports, according to documents submitted to the state.
The school districts receiving money would be required to submit plans detailing the changes they would make to prevent falling into deficits in the future.
Bobb would need a political leader to back his plan. So far, no representative has stepped forward to introduce a bill to the state legislature.
Bobb's plan remains controversial for several reasons. According to the Detroit Free Press, some have lost confidence in Bobb's leadership and his ability to reduce the deficit.
Another reason for the stall: Bobb's plan includes reforms to the education system that the teachers unions vehemently oppose.
The Detroit Free Press reports,
The plan has raised the ire of teachers unions because in order to get the assistance, districts would make major changes including eliminating teacher seniority, changing tenure requirements, implementing merit pay and working a longer school year.