MIDLAND—The Highland Park Board of Education could be the first public school entity to be investigated under Michigan's Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act.  Citizens of the city of Highland Park have submitted petitions to the state superintendent of public instruction calling for a review of the financial practices of the district's school board members.

The request for an investigation comes on the eve of the expected firing of Highland Park Superintendent Beulah Mitchell.  Mitchell—who was hired by the district 15 months ago—repeatedly requested justification from the Board for its spending on club memberships with the Skyline Club and RenCen, parties, retreats, and other questionable expenses.  She likely will be released by the Board at next Monday's meeting.

"School board members must be held accountable for spending education money," said Matthew J. Brouillette, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and an appointed member of the advisory council to the Highland Park superintendent of schools.  "If the Board has been fiscally responsible with money dedicated to the education of children, an investigation will vindicate them.  If not, the local parents and teachers will be in a stronger position to hold the Board accountable for its actions."

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a research and educational institute that works with school districts to help identify ways schools can improve the delivery of education services.