Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts revealed during his retirement press conference that William Aldridge, a longstanding CPA who is currently the chief financial officer of the public school system, will be elevated to the position of chief administrative officer.
That means more responsibility for Aldridge whose portfolio will now include oversight of the district’s procurement & logistics and information technology departments.
“Detroit Public Schools has made great strides toward eliminating its deficit and balancing its budget under Bill’s financial leadership these last two years,” Roberts said. “However, in order for this forward momentum to be sustainable, the district must establish strong systems and processes and a sound operational model. Bill’s 40 years of experience in public accounting, consulting and school district management make him the absolute right person for this position.”
According to DPS, the first major systems project that Aldridge is overseeing in his new role as chief financial and administrative officer is the procurement and implementation of the district’s new human resources and finance computer system, which will provide the district with exponentially greater efficiency and effectiveness in these critical areas.
“I am confident that Bill’s extensive institutional knowledge of Detroit Public Schools, as well as his four decades of experience, will provide the District with the continuity that is critical to the turnaround of our school system and its return to local control in a timely manner,” said Roberts. A look at his biography shows that Aldridge began his professional career at the international public accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Company in 1970. He then co-founded Barrow, Aldridge & Co., a firm providing auditing, tax, consulting and other services. Within five years, the firm became one of the largest minority CPA firms in the country. He remained at Barrow, Aldridge & Co. for 13 years before joining Detroit Public Schools as its divisional director of financial planning and budget and chief accounting officer.
Aldridge remained with DPS until 1992, when he was recruited by Cleveland Public Schools to become its first African-American chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary of the Cleveland Board of Education. In 1996, he returned to Detroit Public Schools to serve as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. In early 2000, he joined Pierce, Monroe & Associates, LLC as its principal.
Before joining the staff of DPS, Aldridge’s CPA firm, along with Coopers & Lybrand, became the first African-American firm to audit a major school district. Upon joining DPS as the divisional director of financial planning and budget and chief accounting officer in 1988, he was also responsible for assisting in the elimination of DPS’ accumulated deficit of $160 million.