Roy Roberts will be replaced today as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools by Jack Martin, a finance guru whose last assignment was helping Mayor Dave Bing implement the city's consent agreement with the state.
Roberts and Martin confirmed reports from sources that the change will be announced this morning by Gov. Rick Snyder in Detroit, and will take effect immediately.
Roberts had been scheduled to leave the district in May, when his second, one-year contract expired, but had to stay on because a suitable replacement couldn't be found.
"I have total confidence in what's been done to date," Martin said. "But it's going to be a very difficult job. It's a new challenge."
Martin said he's known Roberts for years, and trusts that he's put in place a solid team at DPS; Martin doesn't plan major changes. Once he gets settled, he said, he will visit schools, staff and teachers.
"I'll first focus on starting school on time and without incident," Martin said. "Enrollment is a major focus."
Martin, Detroit's chief financial officer, has a deep background in government turnaround. Before Snyder embedded him in the mayor's office, he was emergency manager of Highland Park Schools. He was also a member of the financial review team that delved into Detroit's financial condition early in 2012 and ultimately recommended a state takeover.
Like Snyder, Martin is a certified public accountant, and has four decades of experience in the private and public sectors. His previous posts include chief financial officer of the U.S. Department of Education and chairman and CEO of Home Federal Savings Bank of Detroit. He is also chairman and founder of the Bingham Farms accounting and consulting firm Martin, Arrington, Desai & Meyers, P.C.
The Bloomfield Hills resident has a personal attachment to Detroit schools. He attended Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Cass Tech High School, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from Wayne State University.
Roberts, the retired General Motors executive, has described the job of DPS emergency manager as one of the toughest he's ever faced.
"Every action I've taken over the last two years has been about the students and fixing the system so that every child in the city of Detroit can receive the quality education they deserve," he said Friday. "We've made great progress, but there is still significant work that remains. I am confident that Jack Martin is the right person to lead Detroit Public Schools and maintain this positive trajectory."
Under his leadership, the district's financial outlook has improved, although Roberts has estimated it will take at least another two years to erase the deficit, which has fallen to $76 million from $327 million.
Source: Detroit News | INGRID JACQUES