Academy closes, students moved to night school

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. - More questions than answers remain regarding the abrupt closing of the Highland Park Career Academy to all but seniors, according to media reports. Highland Park Schools told younger students last week that they should report to night classes at Highland Park High School instead, The Detroit News reported.

The academy has 828 regular students and 146 adult students, The News reported, a combination of traditional high school students, alternative education enrollees and adults attempting to complete a diploma or vocational courses. Officials said the entire operation will close in June, according to The News.

Evening classes at Highland Park High School run from 3 to 9 p.m., according to The News, and students and parents are worried about safety. Jan Ellis, Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman, told the News that Michigan districts are authorized to close schools and to offer classes at any time.

Kary L. Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said that the closing "forces the question of how far the state's obligation goes to provide education to the children," The News reported.

Superintendent Arthur Carter said that the academy was on track to overspend by $3 million against its $25 million budget this year, but details on the district's overall budget situation were inconsistent, The News reported. A state database indicates the district overall has an $111,000 deficit, Ellis told The News.

The Detroit News, "Highland Park Career Academy closing means night school for teens," Jan. 23, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "DPS enrollment down by thousands," Feb. 23, 2007