LANSING, Mich. - Forty-one public school districts ended 2008-2009 in the red, according to preliminary state data reported in The Detroit News, up from 27 deficit districts the previous year. Media reports from around the state suggest that communities have varied ideas about how to keep that list from growing.

The districts on the list overspent their revenue during 2008-2009, even before this year's budget cut and proration that is expected to reduce school funding by about $292 per student, The News reported.

While parents in some communities are calling on the state to increase school funding, residents of other communities are calling on unionized school employees to consider contract concessions, according to various media reports.

In a separate report, The News said that parents have rallied at several school districts to support more school funding; the West Bloomfield Educational Foundation has asked parents to donate $1 a day to the district.

In Saline Public Schools, the board of education has asked unionized employees to reopen their contracts and consider wage and benefit changes, according to a report at AnnArbor.com. At a meeting in Hemlock Public Schools, a school bus driver suggested that every district employee take a 10 percent pay cut, according to The Saginaw News.

SOURCES:
The Saginaw News, "Hemlock residents suggest school pay cuts, fees for athletes," Dec. 2, 2009

AnnArbor.com, "Saline school board wants to open contracts with teachers, other unions," Nov. 11, 2009

The Detroit News, "Number of Michigan school districts in deficit jumps," Dec. 2, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Is That Your Final Answer?" Dec. 3, 2009

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