Budget crunch hits metro schools

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. - Increased energy, health care and retirement costs, coupled with declining enrollment and uncertain state funding, have pushed a number of public school districts into the red, according to The Detroit News. School officials are responding by laying off teachers, consolidating schools and reducing transportation services as a way to balance budgets, the article said.

"It's like a volcano has erupted, and we're just trying to keep ahead of the lava flow," Madison District Public Schools Superintendent Paul Rogers told The News. "But this is a man- made disaster, and it's ruining lives."

Several Metro Detroit districts are currently in a deficit position, according to The News. Pontiac faces a $10 million deficit in its $96 million budget; Howell projects a $3 million deficit in its $68 million budget; and Dearborn expects a $10.5 million deficit in its $180 million budget, the News reported.

The Detroit News, "Deep cutbacks test Metro Detroit schools," Jan. 5, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit not the only school district seeing red," June 30, 2008