57 Michigan School Districts Show Budget Deficits

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According to education officials in Michigan, 57 school districts in the state ended the fiscal year with deficits in their budget – an increase from the 52 districts who fell short last year.

The data was reported last week to the state House and Senate education budget subcommittees by the Department of Education. The report states that one of the 52 school districts to have a deficit as of June 30, 2013 had merged with another district, two others had eliminated their deficits by the end of the fiscal year, and one charter school had closed.

Meanwhile, the state shows 55 districts and charter schools as having deficits, and two charter schools on the list having closed.

Two districts who had ended the 2013 fiscal year with a deficit were changed into public school academy systems and saw their deficits eliminated through school operating taxes.

“The result is 55 … operating deficit districts that are required to have deficit elimination plans monitored by the MDE during 2014-15,” state superintendent Mike Flanagan wrote in the report.

The report shows 22 schools that had deficit elimination plans for 2013-14 had decreased their deficit, 10 had increased their deficit, and 2 saw their deficits eliminated.

Schools in Detroit are on the list and will continue to be operated under an emergency manager.  According to the district, its deficit has grown to $169 million.

In Flint, the deficit has increased by more than double from last year.  In addition, the district has lost 49% of its students over the past few years.

“The deficit situation continues to deteriorate,” reads the Flint district portion of Flanagan’s report. “According to the 2013-14 audit, the deficit now stands at $21,964,181 which is more than double from last year.”

The district is one of only ten in the state to begin the school year with a deficit, and end with an increased deficit.

It is also one of just three that were mentioned in detail in Flanagan’s report.

All districts on the list are required to submit deficit-elimination plans to the Department of Education.  Those that do not follow their plans subject to having a state-appointed emergency manager come take over the finances for the district.

Flint has submitted its plan, but has yet to hear back as to whether or not it has been approved.  Their plan includes $8.1 million in concessions from teachers and paraprofessionals.  In addition, the teachers union has agreed to a seven-year wage freeze and other measures to cut costs, reports Dominic Adams for Michigan Live.