State orders Detroit to close half its schools

In this Aug. 19, 2009 photo, emergency financial manager Robert Bobb, left, talks with Felicia Harvey, center, and her niece Jallycia Sherrod, 16, to try and convince them to enroll her children in Detroit Public Schools in Detroit. Harvey says here children are learning and are safe at a charter school, unlike the city's troubled public schools. But each student coaxed back to the public system means $7,550 in much needed state funding.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

DETROIT - State education officials have ordered the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools to immediately implement a plan that balances the district's books by closing half its schools.

The Detroit News says the financial restructuring plan will increase high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidate operations.

State superintendent of public instruction Mike Flanagan says in a Feb. 8 letter that the state plans to install another financial manager who must continue to implement Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb's plan after he leaves June 30. Flanagan's said approval of Bobb's plan means the district can't declare bankruptcy.

Bobb filed his deficit elimination plan with the state in January, saying it would wipe out the district's $327 million deficit by 2014

Bobb was hired in March 2009 by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.