Reposted from last night, with additional info:
It's official.Then it was the Pontiac School District.
For the 400 or so students in Buena Vista, Mich., school is over, even though the academic year isn't supposed to end until the middle of June.
Last week, the Buena Vista School District fired all of its teachers and closed its schools because it had run out of money. Because the district accepted money from the state for a program it was no longer providing, the state is withholding the district's school aid for at least three months.
Winning state aid funds to cover Friday’s payroll at the last minute over the weekend was only one hurdle for the deficit-ridden Pontiac school district.
However, the crisis isn’t over. District officials are still on edge, waiting to see if Pontiac schools will be next in the state for an emergency manager or bankruptcy.
Even though the plan was approved, releasing the March state aid payment to cover the payroll, that did not stop the preliminary review of the district’s finances underway now — the first step in what could lead to an emergency financial manager.
Well, the process of deliberately and systematically destroying Michigan's public school system must be ramping up, because today, two more districts were brought to their knees--Albion and Inkster:
Budget deficit forcing school officials to close Albion High School
The Albion School Board voted last night to close the district’s high school.
Beginning this fall, the mid-Michigan district will only serve students in grades K through eight.
Some students cried. Others just shook their heads, after the school board voted 5 to 1, with one abstention, to close Albion High School.
School board members said repeatedly they didn’t want to close the school, but a projected million dollar budget deficit could not be ignored.
Inkster Public School Teachers Laid Off, Superintendent Reportedly ResignsHmmm...is there ANY silver lining in all this?
INKSTER (WWJ) - Inskter Public Schools are apparently without a superintendent Wednesday morning, and the district’s teachers may soon be out of a job as well.
Superintendent Micha Bashir reportedly resigned at a school board meeting Tuesday night. According to sources, Bashir went to the meeting to turn in a resignation letter, but it wasn’t accepted. Bashir allegedly wouldn’t take no for an answer and said she quit anyway before walking out of the meeting.
Additionally, a school board official told WWJ’s Mike Campbell all of the district’s public school teachers are laid off effective June 28, and their insurance will end August 30.
She said the deficit elimination plan calls for the district to change from K-12 to a K-8 system with a charter school running the high school.Oh, goody. I feel so much better now.
Bloomfield Hills' big claim to fame, aside from being Mitt Romney and a lot of other financially successful people's old stomping grounds, is our schools. We're always among the top performers in both the state and the region, and have always been incredibly proud of that. Truth is, for all the wealth and power here, the area itself doesn't have much else to attract families--we don't have sidewalks, parks or a recreation center. We just have our big houses, big yards...and our schools.
A year and a half ago, when my own son was getting ready to enter kindergarten in the Bloomfield Hills School District--one of the nicest, best-funded and best-performing districts in the state--I asked someone who works for the district and who is in a position to know (I can't reveal who) what the onslaught of attacks on public school teachers, public school districts and public education in general would mean for our district.
The response was simple and to the point: "Last Man Standing".
They weren't being cute or coy. They were being realistic. Eventually, even the mighty Bloomfield Hills School District will be destroyed by this insane, mindless, viscious obsession with privatizing education without any rational oversight or attention to actual knowledge or experience. We'll outlast everyone else because of the demographics (and connections) of the residents--but make no mistake, sooner or later we'll be taken down as well.
The irony is that we just won a bond issue to get the voters to approve a brand-new, modern, state-of-the-art high school last year after a 10 year epic battle that had torn the community apart. How ironic would it be if we ended up with a big, shiny, awesome building...with no money for qualified teachers or administrators to run it?
My own son is just wrapping up 1st grade, which means he has 11 more years to go. Call me selfish, but at this point, our clock is ticking--I'm just hoping that our district holds firm long enough to get him through it before our wall is breached by the tidal wave of stupidity and selfishness along with all the surrounding communities.
Update: Eclectablog has a fantastic article over at his site that explains how the Michigan GOP, starting under John Engler and continuing under Rick Snyder and their colleagues in the state legislature, have gotten us to this point.
Most eerily, he includes the following cautionary tale--written independently of my "How ironic would it be if we ended up with a big, shiny, awesome building...with no money for qualified teachers or administrators to run it?" quip above--about what happened recently in Howell, Michigan:
But, here’s the thing: these shiny new facilities don’t always tell the full story. They are the result of infrastructure bonds that are separate from school funding. And sometimes you can have a brand new school without the funds to operate it properly. The most glaring example of this is the William Parker High School in Howell, Michigan. Completed in 2007 to the tune of $70 million, it is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with cutting-edge technology. And it is vacant. The Howell school district does not have enough money to run it so, after opening for the 2007-2008 school year, they closed it and it remains vacant to this day.Update x2: I just wanted to take the Rec-list opportunity to give a bit more backstory on the Bloomfield Hills situation that I mentioned above. If anyone's really interested in seeing how public education funding policy plays out locally in a heavily-Republican area, you may be surprised. Here's my detailed write-up on the school bond campaign from last year.
Unlike Howell, in our case, there's no way that the new building would go vacant--but I could easily see a situation develop where the district is forced to sell the building (which the taxpayers just shelled out $60 million for) to a private charter school corporation for pennies on the dollar...which would then receive more of our public funds to do a shitty job of teaching our kids a bunch of useless standardized testing crap.
Result? The kids grow up stupid, the taxpayers are fleeced and the private corporations make out like bandits.
FLINT, MI – The Flint School District is laying off 138 teachers and staff at the end of the school year in a cost-cutting measure.
The Flint School District plans to lay off nearly 150 teachers in the next three years in hopes of saving more than $6.5 million, according to the deficit elimination plan the district filed with the Michigan Department of Education last week.
The district announced in March that it would close Bryant, Dort and Washington elementary schools, along with Zimmerman. It was also determined that Northern High School would become an alternative seventh- through 12th-grade school.
The district also plans to close one more elementary school each in 2015 and 2016.