Preliminary financial review for Pontiac schools

PONTIAC, Mich. – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan has informed Pontiac Schools it will undergo a preliminary financial review, according to The Detroit News. The review is the first step in a process that could lead to the appointment of an emergency manager for the district.

In a letter to interim Pontiac Superintendent Walter Burt, Flanagan said he has “serious concerns about the financial viability of the Pontiac School District” because it has been "unable to implement elements" of a state-approved deficit-elimination plan, The News reported. According to The News, Pontiac was supposed to cut $1.7 million from its budget this year. Instead, it has seen its deficit grow by $1.5 million to a projected $26 million for the year. This caused the state to withhold Pontiac’s April 20 state aid payment.

According to The News, Burt remained confident the district would meet the deficit-elimination plan goals despite this setback.

"Our DEP states the district will cut $20 million from our deficit by the end of next school year. Additional measures will be implemented within the next week to reduce the deficit. We are very confident that by the end of June 2013, we will have exceeded our targeted goals,” Burt told The News. “That will bring us above the expected targeted goal for the 2013-2014 school year."

SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Mich. orders preliminary financial review of Pontiac schools,” May 1, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Pontiac district found to be $24 million in debt," Nov. 26, 2011