With the Big Three in and out of the red, it seems bankruptcy is the new black in Detroit. Who's got the bug? Detroit Public Schools, whose emergency financial manager is contemplating addressing its $259.5 million-dollar deficit for 2009-2010 by filing "Chapter 9." The politically-elected school board and the local teachers' union are unsurprisingly aghast. For example, the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, Keith Johnson, says, "In the worst case scenario it could completely void an existing collective bargaining agreement." But that sounds like a best-case scenario to us; one reason Motown finds itself in this predicament is that generations of school leaders have put the needs of adults over those of children. Moreover, for a district with such abysmal achievement, shady financial practices, and political corruption, a fresh start might not be such a bad idea. Bankruptcies are never pretty, but they can allow for new beginnings.
"DPS moves closer to bankruptcy," by Maria Schultz, The Detroit News, July 10, 2009