Officials say Highland Park schools may not survive school year

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - The future of Highland Park's School District is in doubt after the governor agreed to install an emergency manager and State Treasurer Andy Dillon questioned whether the district will even stay open through the end of the school year.

Dillon says the state had to dole out an emergency payment of $188,000 to Highland Park's district – without the cash the district would not have made payroll Friday.

Asked what the chances the district will survive beyond this school year, Dillon would not give a definitive answer, only saying the first priority is to get students to finish classes this year.

Dillon says part of the problem is that Highland Park's district officials have not been providing consistent information about their budget crisis.

"Staff from both Treasury and the Department of Education has been in daily contact with representatives from Highland Park Schools, at times more than once a day, to get the most current and accurate representation of the district's finances," Dillon said.

"Given the difficulty he have had, I directed my staff to visit the district today to determine exactly where things stand relative to the district's cash balance and its immediate financial obligations including payroll."

Plummeting enrollment among other issues have led Highland Park's district to a $11-million deficit for this school year.

The district will have a chance to raise objections against an emergency manager takeover at a hearing next Tuesday.

It's not been disclosed yet who would takeover as emergency manager.

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The hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Tuesday January 17 at 10:00 a.m. in Lansing.

For more details visit the state's website at www.michigan.gov/treasury.

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