BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — State Superintendent Mike Flanagan will not recommend appointing a review team for Benton Harbor Area Schools despite an initial finding that the district is in financial stress, according to The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium. The review team would have been the next step in a state takeover of the district under emergency financial management legislation.
The Herald-Palladium reported that the state will not continue with the takeover process because of a series of budget cuts the district was able to make. Teachers agreed to a temporary contract that includes a 10 percent pay cut along with other concessions that add up to $1 million in savings for the district. The union had previously rejected any concessions, a stance that contributed to Flanagan ordering the initial review, according to the Herald-Palladium.
The initial review found the district was running a deficit of $16.4 million for the 2011 fiscal year. The Herald-Palladium reports that this figure is equal to about 45 percent of the district’s general fund revenues, one of the highest rates in the state.
The Herald-Palladium, "State Backs Off on BH Schools," Dec. 21, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Benton Harbor Recall Over Privatization,” Jan. 25, 2010