DPS outlines closure plan, identifies 45 ‘Renaissance Schools’ slated for turnaround to charters under plan to radically restructure academically-failing schools

The Detroit Public Schools today took a major step forward in remaking itself into a premier urban school district with a portfolio of outstanding schools by outlining a school closure plan to address its deficit and identifying 45 ‘Renaissance Schools’ to be the subject of a rigorous and competitive bidding and vetting process for conversion to charter schools.

Consistent with our Deficit Elimination Plan, which calls for closing 40 schools, Emergency Manager Robert Bobb released a list of 32 schools that will be slated to close, 30 this school year and two next year. Eighteen of those have the opportunity to become charters and remain open as neighborhood schools. If not successful, they will close.

As part of this, Bobb named eight schools to be closed and consolidated with other schools. Eight new schools coming on line as a result of the $500.5 million DPS construction program and other construction will replace 14 other schools, resulting in an additional net reduction of six schools.

Bobb also released an additional list of 27 schools that are excellent candidates for charters under this process. For every school that becomes a charter, the operating costs are removed from the district’s budget.

“Detroit Public Schools is taking a major step forward in remaking itself into a premier urban school district with a portfolio of outstanding schools. We are creating a system of schools, not a school system, to give parents choices, consistent with our Academic Plan,” Bobb said.

“Everyone’s voice has been, and will be, important in this process. Through this plan, we are already bringing together a diverse cross-section of parents, board members, philanthropic groups, legislators, experts, and business and community leaders who are finally ready to work together — and who have the capacity – to transform DPS for our students.”

At the end of the process, DPS will have a net reduction in buildings of 32-59 schools. (See final page.)

The schools identified are those with low academic performance, low or declining enrollment, high operational costs, poor physical conditions, or a combination of these factors.

This process will include two Town Hall meetings with the Board of Education and a series of hearings for local schools affected by these plans.

DPS will soon issue a Request for Proposals, RFP, to seek superstar, proven charter operators for these schools under our Renaissance 2012 Plan, and will announce full details of a vetting process, during which the school district will engage national experts on Turnaround charter conversion, as well as the community. DPS will only accept proposals from those that have been successful in terms of student achievement.

DPS will serve as the charter authorizer and have strict oversight over the charters, but the schools will operate separately from the district. They will make their own decisions on curriculum and staffing. The district also plans to offer training for community members to serve on the boards of the transformed charter schools.

The Renaissance 2012 Plan will allow DPS to retain neighborhood schools and keep neighborhoods strong. Under the model being designed with turnaround experts, students living within a school neighborhood will be given priority enrollment, and charter operators will be contractually required to meet all special education needs of enrolled students.

“These 45 Renaissance Schools and all the students they serve have a unique opportunity for a complete academic transformation to a proven charter school model as part of our DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan,” Bobb said. “The bottom line is this: We cannot in good conscience operate the same school system in the same way when only 5 percent of our students are proficient in reading, as measured against students nationally. We would be failing our kids.”

Bobb noted that the system cannot operate schools of 200 students in buildings with a capacity of 700 with a $327 million budget deficit. Under the state-mandated deficit reduction plan, DPS must close 70 schools over two years. The Renaissance 2012 plan seeks to reduce the numbers of closures and minimize abandoned buildings.

DPS now authorizes nine DPS charters, enrolling 2,050 students. The district regularly offers improvement assistance; monitors progress, finances and academics; and takes corrective action, when necessary. Since DPS first began serving as a charter school authorizer in 1998, the system closed two charters that weren’t successful.

Depending on the number of successful charter bids, the plan will result in a net of 32-59 buildings and associated operating costs removed from the district’s budget.

For example:

– The District will experience significant financial savings by eliminating all of the operating costs of the schools

– Immediate budget savings will be realized

– If every school is matched with a charter operator, we drastically limit costs incurred for closing and securing schools

– Revenue will be generated from leases to charter schools.

This plan, however, will not eliminate the district’s long-term deficit. Other financing options to stabilize the district are being sought.

“Most importantly, this plan seeks to create long-term fiscal stability by transforming DPS in a premier urban district that attracts families by providing a portfolio of outstanding schools that will serve the needs of all students,” Bobb said. “We see a Renaissance for DPS and its students, and this plan is the foundation.”

For additional information, parents can go to www.detroitk12.org/Renaissance2012 or call (313) 240-4377 or email Renaissance2012@detroitk12.org

About the DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan

DPS Renaissance 2012 is a transformative plan to radically restructure many academically-failing schools and reduce operating costs by seeking local and national groups and charter school operators for 45 of DPS’ 141 schools. The district’s state-mandated Deficit Elimination Plan requires 70 schools to be closed over two years. Instead of closing 45 schools this fall, the district would authorize schools to be converted to charters, allowing many poor-performing schools to undergo an academic transformation and stay open. This plan supports the district’s state-mandated Deficit Elimination Plan by reducing operating costs.
DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan

Building replacement, closure and charter options


Month / Year Closing Buildings Replacements Building Closures Net Closure
Jan. 2011 Public Safety Hqtr. Public Safety Hqtr. 1 0
Feb. 2011 DTC East & DTC West Drew (renovation) 2 1
Sept. 2011 Gompers & Vetal Brightmoor (New) 2 1
Sept. 2011 Neinas & Webster Earhart (New) 2 1
Sept. 2011 King HS King HS (New) 1 0
Jan. 2012 Barton & Parker Mackenzie PK-8 (New) 2 1
Jan. 2012 Logan & O.W. Holmes Munger PK-8 (New) 2 1
Sept. 2012 Mumford Mumford (New) 1 0
Sept. 2012 Crockett HS & Finney HS Crockett-Finney (New) 2 1
Total 15 6


  1. Carleton
  2. Day School for Deaf
  3. Field, Moses
  4. Hutchinson
  5. Rutherford
  6. Sherrill
  7. Ludington (Relocate entire program in-tact to Hughes building)


  1. Osborn HS


  1. Barsamian Prep
  2. Beard ELC
  3. Breithaupt CTC
  4. Carstens
  5. Detroit City HS
  6. Dossin
  7. Farwell
  8. Ferguson Academy
  9. Glazer
  10. Hally
  11. Hancock
  12. Hutchins
  13. Jemison
  14. Loving
  15. MacDowell
  16. Trix
  17. Van Zile
  18. Wayne

* Proposals will be requested to operate these schools as Charters. If an acceptable proposal is not submitted for a school, then it will be closed during the Summer of 2011.

  1. Brewer
  2. Burns
  3. Carver
  4. Clark
  5. Davison
  6. Durfee
  7. Edmonson
  8. Gardner
  9. Hamilton
  10. Henderson
  11. Holmes, A.L.
  12. Howe
  13. Mann
  14. Marshall, T.
  15. Mason
  16. Noble
  17. Nolan
  18. Palmer Park Prep
  19. Phoenix
  20. Pulaski
  21. Robeson/Malcolm X
  22. Robinson
  23. Sampson
  24. Stewart
  25. Twain, Mark
  26. White
  27. Wilkins

** These buildings will remain open under a Turnaround Plan, either under Charter or DPS operation. Turnaround Plans will be requested from private and community groups via a Request for Proposals to operate charters. In the event an acceptable charter plan is not submitted, DPS will implement a Turnaround Plan.

Net Building Reductions: 32(min.) – 59(max.)

Additional Resources

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