Contents of this issue:

  • Buena Vista school district reopens
  • Pontiac reaches settlement with former superintendent
  • Albion district to become K-8 only 
  • State department could pay for mascot changes under bill 
  • 49 districts and charter schools spend more than they take in

Buena Vista School District Reopens

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Buena Vista schools reopened Monday after the Michigan Department of Education released $460,000 in payments to the district, according to MLive.

The district is in the midst of an overspending crisis, MLive reports. Buena Vista is spending $1 million more than it receives in revenue, and has a $2 million loan from the state that it needs to pay.
Kryls Hodges, an eighth grader at Buena Vista, told MLive that he plans to leave the district at the end of the year, and hopes to use schools of choice to attend the nearby Carrollton School District.
SOURCE: MLive, “Buena Vista schools open Monday, financial crisis remains,” May 17, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Close Dysfunctional Schools," May 16, 2013

Pontiac Reaches Settlement With Former Superintendent

PONTIAC, Mich. – The Pontiac School District has reached a settlement with a former superintendent who said he was fired because he exposed the misuse of school money, according to The Detroit News.

The former superintendent, Jonathan Brown, launched an investigation into the way district money was spent in 2011, The News reports. Brown’s attorney told The News that Brown was fired soon after reporting unauthorized payments to staff members and misuse of district credit cards, among other things. 
According to The News, Brown has agreed to a $100,000 settlement with the district.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Former Pontiac school superintendent reaches settlement," May 17, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Pontiac district may be able to pay bills with state help,” May 14, 2013

Albion District to Become K-8 Only

ALBION, Mich. – The Albion school board voted to reorganize as a K-8 school district, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the district will close Harrington Elementary School, and that students will attend grades K-8 in the high school building. The district will cooperate with the nearby Marshall school district, where Albion students can attend high school.
Albion was set to spend $1.1 million more than it receives in revenue, according to MLive. “This is not a reflection of Albion High School students,” Albion board member Don Philips told MLive. “This is a reflection of the fiscal stewardship and changes that have been happening in our state.”
SOURCE: MLive, “Albion Board of Education votes to discontinue teaching high school students, moves to collaborate with Marshall Public Schools,” May 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Albion considers becoming K-8 district,” May 7, 2013

State Department Could Pay for Mascot Changes Under Bill

LANSING, Mich. – Two state legislators have introduced a bill that would force the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to pay for school district costs associated with changing mascots, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The department earlier filed a complaint with the federal government, asking that Michigan school districts be prohibited from using Indian mascots, the Free Press reports.
A spokesperson for the MDCR told the Free Press that the departments hopes schools replace mascots and athletic logos when athletic uniforms need to be reordered, in order to avoid additional costs, according to the Free Press.
SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press, “Bill would make state civil rights department pay for schools forced to drop American Indian mascot,” May 15, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Michigan Seeks to Ban American Indian School Mascots,” Feb. 12, 2013

49 Districts and Charter Schools Spend More Than They Take In

LANSING, Mich. – Nearly 50 Michigan school districts and public charter schools are spending more money than they receive in revenue, according to Michigan Radio.

Michigan Radio listed the 15 districts and charter schools that are overspending the most, compared to their incoming revenues.
Inkster has the largest spending crisis, with the district projected to spend 60.8 percent more than its revenue, Michigan Radio reports. Highland Park, Benton Harbor, Westood and the Ypsilanti school districts have the next-largest overspending crises, according to Michigan Radio, with each district spending at least 20 percent too much.
Only one public charter school – HEART Academy – was on the top 15 list, Michigan Radio reports.
SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “The 15 Michigan schools running the biggest deficits,” May 17, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Students Shut Out of School After District, Union Agree to Unrealistic Contract, May 9, 2013