Local Districts Could Face Entire Elimination - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Local Districts Could Face Entire Elimination

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PINCKNEY, Mich. (WLNS) - State Superintendent Michael Flanagan made the announcement Monday he will officially shut down two Michigan school districts, which he has the authority to do under Public Act 96, a law passed earlier this month.

Now, three local school districts are facing big deficits.

 

 

When faculty and staff members left Pinckney schools for the summer, they left a district with a nearly $2.5 million defecit.

 

 

 

"When you have a business that's 85 percent personnel costs, you can't make those kind of cuts without affecting people," said Dan Danosky, the superintendent for Pinckney schools.

 

Earlier this year, the state labelled Pinckney a Category 4 district, which means they started the year off with a balanced budget, but ended in a deficit.

Superintendent Danosky worked with the state to develop a defecit elimination plan, one of the new requirements under the act, which gives the state the authority to shut down entire school districts if they're struggling. So far only two have shut down, but 55 districts statewide face defecits, including Brighton and Perry.

"Our goal isn't to shut down districts, it's to help them get better," said Jan Ellis, the spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education.

Ellis says only if districts run defecits year after year with no realistic plan to restructure are they at risk for closure.

 

"It's just been a result of the recent legislation that allowed us to dissolve currently standing districts that are in such financial difficulty that they no longer provide a good environment for students," said Ellis.

Danoksy says he's remaining positive his district will turn things around.  "It won't be the same as it was in the past, but I certainly see it recovering. We're able to keep our head above water. It was always a struggle, but we were able to do it."

The new law allowing the state to close whole districts is unprecedented in Michigan. Officials say it does allow each district a fair chance to restructure before closing down.

As for Pinckney, under it's defecit elimination plan, two thirds of the district's defecit will be wiped clean by the end of this year.

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