Emergency Manager for Highland Parks Schools to start today

LANSING (WXYZ) - The newly appointed emergency manager for the Highland Park School District is scheduled to start today.

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Jack Martin to the position last week.

Robert Davis with the Highland Park school board says the appointment of an emergency manager was not a surprise, but he calls the move "illegal". Davis expects a legal challenge will be filed as early as today.

Martin is a certified public accountant and former Chief Financial Officer for the US Department of Education.

"Jack Martin has more than four decades of experience in both the public and private sectors, and has earned tremendous respect throughout his career," Governor Snyder said. "Given his understanding of the critical importance of education and his background as a C.P.A., I'm confident Mr. Martin is well-suited for this post, and will work quickly and efficiently to address the financial emergency faced by Highland Park schools."

Christina Allen is the parent of two Highland Park School district students. She says "I think somebody needs to help them because of the shape they're in." However, she thinks she will probably move her kids to another district because of its financial condition.

The move comes after a financial review team determined that a financial emergency existed in the district. Highland Park schools are currently facing an $11.3 million deficit and decreasing enrollment. It has also had an operating deficit for five of the last six fiscal years.

Highland Park schools also needed an $188,000 advance of its January state aid payment in order to meet payroll .

"Over the last several weeks, I have grown increasingly concerned about the district's ability to complete the school year without significant assistance and intervention," Snyder said. "The welfare of the students attending Highland Park schools is our number one priority. We must ensure they have every opportunity to learn and succeed."

 

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