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This morning, I put up a post talking about a majority white community in Michigan being threatened with takeover by an Emergency Manager. I'm reposting it here along with another story of another majority white school district, as well.



Much of the outrage about Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager law centers around its disparate impact on minority school districts and cities. But this law may be coming to city or school near you even if it's not a so-called "majority minority" area. Take a look at the data that was assembled by Progress Michigan to see how obvious that is.

Part 1
This week, Perry Schools announced that it will run out of money before the end of the year. According to an article in the Argus-Press (not available online without a subscription), Perry Schools face a $1 million deficit in their budget. Perry is in Shiawassee County, a County with a population of just under 71,000 according the 2010 census. How many African Americans in Shiawassee County? 0.5 percent.

From the Argus-Press article:

Faced with the likelihood of running out of money and the need to borrow up to $1 million for the current school year, the Perry Public Schools Board of Education Monday discussed the need to file a deficit elimination plan with the state. [...]

The deficit elimination plan, which would conclude June 30, 2014, addresses a deficit that was projected to reach at least $2,115,436 by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. [...]

[Business manager and interim superintendent Jim] Lockwood's recommendations include cutting $1,145,132 from the teacher's union by way of layoffs, increased health insurance contributions and no step increases; cutting $335,901 through the support staff union by way of layoffs, switching employees to contractors and reducing or eliminating benefits...

In addition to these cuts, Lockwood proposes massive cuts in their IT department along with reducing services as well as withdrawing from the Perry-Morrice Alternative and Adult Education Consortium. Ironically, Perry voters approved a nearly $3 million bond last spring by a 20-point margin, about a third of which was earmarked for technology upgrades (1:1 technology, updated computers for students, smart boards, science lab technology, etc.) This proposal eliminates the technology department before implementation of the second half of the bond expenditure. Just last fall, Perry schools boasted about the bond being virtually interest-free (pdf).

Clearly the brunt of these cuts is being taken by the teachers. However, as the Lockwood points out, this massive deficit is not the fault of the teachers. It is mainly due to the fact that the District has allowed its millage to drop to the lowest in the state with the exception of some tiny districts in the Upper Peninsula. Michigan law allows a maximum of 18 mils to fund schools. Perry's millage is 14.7771 mils resulting in $1,492,751 in lost revenues.

So the district blew it and now the unionized teachers and support staff will be paying the price.

Emergency Managers: they're not just for black people anymore.

Part 2
This morning I wrote about Perry schools being threatened with a state takeover, a city in a county with only 0.5% African Americans.

They aren't the only ones.

Suttons Bay is in the "pinkie" of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The Suttons Bay school district is facing an Emergency Manager, as well.

Superintendent Mike Murray says the district planned to get state funding for 760 students, but fell short by 114 students due to a charter school's decision to drop out of Suttons Bay's virtual school.

With this funding shortfall, Murray says he has no choice and will be asking the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for $400,000. Suttons Bay Schools has been a recipient of funding from the band before, but has never asked for this much.

Mike Murray says, "We're totally at the mercy of the generosity of the Grand Traverse Band. It is an usually situation to be in and it’s not their fault."

If they don't get the funding, the state may send an emergency financial manager to take over. [...]

Suttons Bay has already laid off 37 teachers, four secretaries, and the middle school principal. Teachers haven't had a pay increase for three years.

Suttons Bay is in Leelanau County and has a population of just over 21,000. How many African Americans in Leelanau? Not many. According to the 2010 census: 0.3 percent.

Ironically, it may be another minority group that saves the school district from takover: the local American Indian tribe.

Like I said this morning:

Emergency Managers: they're not just for black people anymore.

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Democracy (7+ / 0-)

    It's just not for America anymore.

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:06:00 PM PST

  •  I hope this finally gets the Teahadist to realize (5+ / 0-)

    they're not getting helped by the Republicons. It probably won't, but I can dream, can't I?

    Compassionate Conservatism is letting all the bridges collapse so you won't have to live under one after losing your home when they cut off your unemployment insurance.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:12:24 PM PST

  •  So Perry schools will only be cutting costs, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, Lujane

    not raising revenue from mill levies?  Perfect Republican mantra there.  Only those who benefit directly from a service need to pay for it.  Those who don't obviously benefit, even though they would benefit from a more educated work force and more salaried people spending money in the area rather than being on unemployment roles, well, the landowners have theirs and they don't seem to care for the community.

    I realize it's not just Republicans who suffer, but I wonder what the makeup is of that county.  Is it full of Republican anti-tax types who have no interest in bettering society, or is it a mixture of both parties, proving that the anti-tax and anti-government cut off nose to spite face mantra knows no political fealty?

    •  It's mostly right wing white people... (5+ / 0-)

      ...from what I have seen. It's the kids that are paying the price (aside from the union members including the teachers, of course.)

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Yeah, yeah, I tweet

      by Eclectablog on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:20:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have a million teens running away (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        from home each year.  Apparently, some children think they have bad parents.  If parents are bad, how do we expect most people to care about other people's children?  51% of American adults are now unmarried.  In part that's because they've been told it's good to be independent and free of social obligations.  Why have they been told that?  Because without social support they're easier to control.
        We've got a control issue in this country--a cadre of people who want nothing more than to be in charge, to rule an empire and pacify all the peoples of the earth.  We used to call such people megalomaniacs.  Perhaps the euphemism of CEO did the trick. Where do these people get off preaching hard choices and austerity and fiscal prudence and budgetary restraint when they've never done an honest day's work in their lives.
        The gift of gab, that's all they've got, but it's obviously enough to talk people out of all they've worked for and earned.  Legal theft.  When you agree to it, it's not abuse.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:37:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Btw, the near zero bond issue is a clue. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, maybeeso in michigan, Lujane

    Our investor class is in a pickle.  Yes, they've still got lot of money they hoarded, but the steady trickle of unearned income is drying up.  We're still reading of Romney's equity deals getting him double his money and more in a couple of years and the credit card companies are setting up new accounts at 25%.  Dirck Durbin though pay-day lenders should be capped at 36%.  But, those are now anomalies.  The reality today is that the Fed interest rate is near zero and the 30 year treasuries are at 2.5%.  That's the new bottom, the most secure guaranteed risk-free unearned (and tax free) income.  Compare that to 1991 when the 30 year treasuries were at 8.1%.  That's now two thirds less. Never mind what little old ladies have been getting on their CDs for a decade.  When they started suffering, the financial engineers were still riding the dot com and the housing bubble.  But, that's all gone.  And hoarding the money is not making it worth more.  Shouldn't.  Because money is worthless unless you spend it and put it to work.  But, our investor class doesn't believe that yet.  They're still looking for "free enterprise" which is like free sex--no strings, no dues and no obligations.

    enter - pries = gets in and pries out the sweets

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:51:47 PM PST

  •  So it may not be the secret racist conspiracy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, VClib

    that some have implied it was, I guess.

  •  Sutton's Bay?! (2+ / 0-)

    Holy smokes. I assume the teahadists up there will have a shit fit - and there are a bunch, I fear.  I have taken many vacations in the area because it is gorgeous in the summer, so this shocks me.
    By the time the gov and his friends get finished, what will be left of the beautiful state of Michigan?  :(
    Thanks for the post, good information.  Hang in there...

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:15:55 PM PST

  •  This is important! (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this (tipped, recced, facebooked and retweeted).  First, it shows that Rick Snyder is -- in addition to trying to cripple black and democratic cities -- a union buster just like Scott Walker and John Kasich (who pays for the problems in the Perry district?  The teachers).  Second, and PLEASE correct me if I'm going overboard here, this appears to be an effort to privatize as much of the state as Snyder can before the voters turn him out of office.

    Great stuff, Electablog.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 05:54:24 PM PST

  •  I hope these help out the recall effort. I can't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectablog, Lujane

    see how they would not.    

    Gonna be harder for people of the lesser skin tones to feel immune from this mess.

    Have you heard anything about whether the MI Dem party is going to sit on its hands again?

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 06:06:17 PM PST

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