Detroit Public Schools aims to put 90 percent of its funding into student education, DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts told MSNBC Sunday.
"We're going to make sure it's aimed at the principal, the teacher and that student," Roberts said. "Not spent in the administration and other places."
Roberts was a guest on the network's two-hour special, "A Stronger America: Making the Grade," aired live from the Detroit School of Arts.
The show featured over a dozen education experts from across the country, including author Wes Moore and American Indian Model Schools founder Ben Chavis. Also among the guests were Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and Patricia Ackerman, executive director of the Chalkdust Education Foundation and a blogger for The Huffington Post. Ackerman took part in the panel that discussed whether whether receiving higher education should be the goal of every American student.
Roberts, Moore and Chavis discussed the impact of a student's socioeconomic background on expected level of education. Chavis noted that the student achievement gap -- the disparity among races for test scores and graduation rates -- is "BS."
"There's no achievement gap in America," Chavis said. "There's a preparedness gap."
Roberts emphasized his plan with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to improve the lowest performing 5 percent of schools while closing the district's $327 million budget gap.
This discussion comes amid criticism toward DPS and Roberts for the district's purchase of a $40,000 SUV for the official's sole use while the schools are facing massive budget cuts. Roberts responded to the criticism last week, arguing that he's "driving the heck out of it," the Detroit Free Press reports.
It also occurs at a time when a fourth labor union that represents educators announced last week a lawsuit against DPS for a 10 percent dock in wages.
Click here to watch more clips from Sunday's broadcast of "A Stronger America: Making The Grade" and to check out MSNBC's web extras for the show.