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Detroit Public Schools Buys $40,000 SUV For Roy Roberts Despite Massive Budget Deficit

First Posted: 08/07/11 01:46 PM ET Updated: 10/07/11 06:12 AM ET

Detroit Public Schools have lately seen rounds of cutbacks and layoffs amid a $327 million budget deficit, but it isn't cutting corners for the top of its staff.

The cash-strapped DPS dropped $40,000 in June for a Chevrolet Tahoe purchase that chauffeurs DPS emergency manager Roy Roberts around the city, WXYZ-TV reports. The purchase was reportedly made the same week Roberts slashed schools' budgets.

Roberts also told an assembly of parents, teachers and students in May that the district must find ways to cut back on unnecessary luxuries.

"What are the things we need the most," WXYZ-TV reports Roberts saying. "Which ones are nice, and which can we do without?"

District officials argue that the purchase was necessary, as the previous vehicle required substantial maintenance and had accumulated more than 110,000 miles.

In April, layoff notices spread across the district's 5,466 unionized employees, The Huffington Post reported. The district has closed schools and cut 796 staff positions.

Effective last week, DPS teachers took a 10 percent cut from their salaries and started to pay more for their health care, according to HuffPost reports.

The news of DPS' vehicle purchase for Roberts also comes amid a lawsuit filed last week by three of DPS' employee unions. The suit against state officials fights a new law that allows emergency managers to edit or terminate union contracts, which the unions say violate the U.S. Constitution's contract clause, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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Filed by Emmeline Zhao  |