This news story is so rich with irony it’s hard to know where to begin. But no comment is more ironical than statements by State Rep. Tim Kelly, who moved to Michigan 20 years ago from Indiana when Governor John Engler asked him to be his Education Policy Advisor from 1995-1999. Kelly also served as Governor Engler’s special envoy and representative to the State Board of Education, all this while the Governor and his advisor were “negotiating” with then-mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer, to take over the Detroit Public Schools with the help of legislation requiring the duly-elected Detroit Board of Education members to resign.
Michigan has 41 school districts that ended the 2014-15 school year in a deficit, down from 56 the previous year.
The number of school districts in financial distress has declined for the first time since 2003, reversing a trend that saw the number grow annually as schools struggled with declining enrollment and increased costs.
But despite that progress, the Michigan Department of Treasury will begin preliminary reviews next year of 11 school districts that have dire financial struggles — a process that could lead the state to declare a financial emergency and could result in the appointment of an emergency manager, bankruptcy or a consent agreement with the state.
State Superintendent Brian Whiston said during a legislative committee hearing this morning that 41 school districts and charter schools ended the 2014-15 school year with a deficit, down from 56 the previous year. Twenty school districts eliminated their deficit, but five new districts joined the list.
Whiston called the news promising. But some lawmakers were focused on the 13 districts that saw an increase in their deficit.
Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, questioned whether the Michigan Department of Education is doing enough to prevent districts already in deficit from getting worse.
It’s discouraging, Kelly said, “to see that schools under our watch are growing deficits.”
For the rest of this story, follow this link: Deficit district number down for first time since 2003