Broad Commits Funds to Help Transform Detroit Public Schools

Philanthropist Eli Broad has announced that he is committing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support efforts by Detroit Public Schools to transform the city's faltering school system, the Detroit News reports.

Working with DPS' new financial manager, Robert Bobb, the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation will contribute about a third of the $1.4 million cost for an outside firm to conduct a comprehensive review of the system's finances, develop a balanced budget, and create a five-year strategic fiscal plan. Broad, a graduate of Detroit's Central High School, has invested hundreds of millions in education reform through his foundation but has given modestly to DPS over the years. Broad said he is ready to give substantially more now because he is encouraged by what he has heard from the district's new leadership. Bobb received training for his current job when he attended the Broad Foundation Urban Schools Superintendents Academy in 2005.

"We think there is a huge opportunity...to turn around Detroit Public Schools," said Broad. "[Robert Bobb] is perfect for the job, and we want to be supportive on a continuous basis." To that end, the foundation will contribute $28,000 toward Bobb's salary and moving expenses. Bobb's contract calls for him to receive a $260,000 base salary, with $84,000 in relocation costs and other incentives to be picked up by foundations. Bobb and Broad met just days after Bobb announced that the district will need to shut more than fifty schools and lay off thousands of employees over the next two years to close an estimated $306 million budget shortfall.

"It is a huge lift for us to have a DPS alumnus with the prestige of Eli Broad, who cares deeply about urban education nationally, provide these resources at this critical juncture," said Bobb. "It is very important for Detroit Public Schools to get our finances stable and create long-term models that will allow us to identify sources of funds and put more dollars in the classroom."

Jennifer Mrozowski. "Philanthropist Broad Expands Funding to Help DPS Transform." Detroit News 04/07/2009.