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Detroit schools’ Robert Bobb speaks at WMU

Jan. 27, 2011

KALAMAZOO--Robert C. Bobb, one of the highest profile people in Michigan education today, will present a talk at Western Michigan University at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, in Brown Auditorium of Schneider Hall.

Photo of Robert Bobb.Bobb, emergency financial manager for the Detroit Public Schools until March 1, will speak on "Transformation of the DPS--Finding Opportunity in Crisis." His one-hour talk will describe the challenges and opportunities that he has encountered while working to transform the 74,000-student school district.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Bobb in March 2009 to address the DPS's legacy deficit, which was projected to peak at $305.8 million by June 2009. Soon after, Bobb assembled a team of national turnaround experts to create a 21st-century master education plan, a master long-term financial plan, and plans related to learning, facilities, and parent and community involvement. He also established an Office of Internal Audit as well as an Office of the Inspector General to help eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

His efforts have resulted in several successes, albeit with some controversy. Successes include passage of a $500.5 million bond issue funded by federal economic stimulus money to build or renovate 18 new schools, with many of the projects proceeding ahead of schedule; completion of a successful enrollment drive; ratification of a new reform contract with the teachers union; and creation of Emergency Student Achievement Summer School academies serving 42,000 children.

A WMU alumnus with more than 30 years of executive management experience, Bobb is the owner, president and CEO of the LAPA Group, LLC, a multifaceted private/public sector consulting firm. His background includes positions as deputy mayor and city manager of Washington, D.C., as well as president of that city's board of education. He also has served as city manager of Kalamazoo; Oakland, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; and Santa Ana, Calif.

For more information about Robert Bobb's talk, contact Donna Marks, executive assistant in the WMU Office of Government Affairs, at donna.marks@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2072.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400