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Detroit Public Schools announce 3,200 job cuts

Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2004

DETROIT (AP) Detroit's public school system will lay off an estimated 700 people as it eliminates 3,200 positions, officials said Thursday.

The majority of the cuts, which includes 900 teacher slots, will come through layoffs, though some positions will be eliminated through attrition, officials said. Notices went out in mid-April and the layoffs will take effect at the end of the school year.

''This is the hardest decision I've had to make in nearly 40 years as an educator,'' district chief executive Kenneth Burnley said in a statement.

Burnley said the district had not yet determined what subjects and grade levels would be affected. However, areas in which the district suffers a critical shortage including math, science, English, special education and bilingual education will not be targeted.

School officials project a $78 million shortfall this year and $91 million next year, largely because of funds lost to declining enrollment.

There are 29,500 fewer students in the system than eight years ago because of population declines and competition from charter schools, officials said.

Sixteen schools have been closed or consolidated in the past three years, and three more are set to close by the end of the year.

The decline in enrollment accounts for 38 percent of next year's budget shortfall. A projected increase in retirement and other mandatory benefits and a 4 percent salary increase account for most of the rest.

In recent years, the schools have struggled with low test scores, high dropout rates and crumbling buildings. In 1999, state lawmakers dissolved the elected school board and handed control to a board appointed by the mayor and the governor.

The 2,300 non-teaching jobs include central office employees, administrators and support staff.



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