May 7, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • DPS emergency manager will step down 
  • Brighton proposes third deficit elimination plan 
  • Albion considers becoming K-8 district
  • Buena Vista school district to declare a financial emergency 
  • Howell district stops contract negotiations 

DPS Emergency Manager Will Step Down

DETROIT – Roy Roberts, who has served as emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools for two years, announced that he will step down May 16, according to The Detroit News.

Under Roberts, DPS reduced its overspending crisis from $327 million to $76 million, according to The News, and reduced the district’s overall budget from $1.3 billion to $750 million. During Roberts’ tenure, DPS closed schools, laid off staff and made other cuts, according to The News.
The News reports that DPS’ graduation rate rose to 64.72 percent, the highest it’s been since 2006, and student scores improved in 17 of 18 categories on state achievement tests.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Roberts: DPS fixed, ‘time for me to go,’” May 3, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “DPS teachers awarded bonuses," Sept. 17, 2012

Brighton Proposes Third Deficit Elimination Plan

BRIGHTON, Mich. – Brighton school district officials met with the state to propose a third deficit elimination plan, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

The Daily Press & Argus reports that Brighton is overspending by $7.4 million and needs to eliminate that amount by June 2014. This is the fifth year the district has spent more than it has taken in, according to the Daily Press & Argus.
State officials were skeptical of the district’s plan to raise $5 million more each year from “shared services,” the Daily Press & Argus reported.
SOURCE: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Brighton explains debt plan to state,” May 2, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Helping Districts Deal With Deficits,” Jan. 27, 2013

Albion Considers Becoming K-8 District

ALBION, Mich. – Albion Public Schools is considering becoming a K-8 district, according to MLive. The district has to cut $1.1 million from its budget, and many of the options being considered by school officials involve no longer offering high school courses, MLive reports.

Under one model considered, according to MLive, the district would offer grades K-8, and high school students would use schools of choice to attend other districts, or go to the nearby Marshall school district.
MLive reports that with the money saved under this model, the district could offer more electives and programs at the K-8 level, while saving $900,000.
SOURCE: MLive, “Albion Public Schools exploring option of dropping high school but using building for K-8 students,” May 1, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Albion Looks to Lure Back Students," Oct. 19, 2010

Buena Vista School District to Declare a Financial Emergency

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Buena Vista School Board plans to declare a financial emergency on May 9, according to MLive.

The district needs to make a $2 million payment to the state by Aug. 20, MLive reports, though that could be reduced to $800,000. The district also does not have enough money to pay its employees after May 10, according to MLive.
School Board President Randy Jackson told MLive that under the worst-case scenario, the district will close.
SOURCE: MLive, “Buena Vista School District owes Michigan treasury $800,000 in loans by August 20,” May 3, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Only Two School Districts With Deficits Don’t Meet ‘Best Practices,’” June 18, 2012

Howell District Stops Contract Negotiations

HOWELL, Mich. – The Howell school district has stopped contract negotiations with the Howell Education Association, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

Approximately $3.5 million needs to be cut from the district’s budget, the Daily Press & Argus reports. A proposal that would have included $500,000 in concessions from the HEA was rejected by the school board on March 24, according to the Daily Press & Argus.
Howell School Board President Mike Witt, and his wife Kim Witt, a fellow board member, are prohibited from voting on the final teacher contract because Kim Witt’s sister is a teacher in the district, according to the Daily Press & Argus.
SOURCE: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Howell board halts contract negotiations,” May 3, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Howell School Board Bucks MEA Advice: Saves $2.9 Million and Avoids Program Cuts, May 16, 2011