State approves Pontiac deficit elimination plan

PONTIAC, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Education has approved a deficit elimination plan for Pontiac Public Schools, according to The Detroit News, but the district could still face sanctions, including a loss of state funding, if it fails to fulfill the steps in the approved plan.

The News reports the plan is based on reducing staffing, negotiating wage concessions and boosting enrollment. To help accomplish these goals, the district will close one elementary school by the beginning of next year.

"Had the board not made the decision to close a building and adopt a policy to address staff reductions, I am confident that the state would not have approved our plan," Pontiac Interim Superintendent Walter Burt told The News.

While accepting the deficit elimination plan, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan warned the district it needed to find another way to make the necessary expenditure cuts should it fail to find concessions or staffing reductions, according to The News.

"[T]he Department expects that if the district is unable to realize the staffing reductions and the projected wage concessions, it will institute other expenditure reductions in order to maintain the schedule detailed in the plan," Flanagan wrote in a letter to the school board.


The Detroit News, “Pontiac schools deficit plan OK'd,” March 21, 2012


Michigan Education Report, “Pontiac district found to be $24 million in debt,” Nov. 26, 2011