Special school board meeting in Highland Park to discuss state takeover

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Highland Park School Board will hold a special meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. to discuss its strategy over a state takeover.

A financial review team appointed by Governor Snyder has recommended an emergency manager for Highland Park Schools.

The ten member review team says the district is in a current state of financial emergency with no plans to address the situation.

The review team cited the following conditions that led to the unanimous determination:

  • The HPS cumulative deficit increased by 51 percent over the past fiscal year, from June 30, 2010, to June 30, 2011, growing from $6.6 million to $11.3 million, according to the district's fiscal year 2011 financial audit. Expenditures exceeded revenues by $3.8 million in FY 11.
  • The district's pupil enrollment has decreased by 58 percent since 2006, dropping from 3,179 pupils to 1,331 for FY 2011. Current estimates show a pupil count of 969.The district has incurred an operating deficit in five of the last six fiscal years.
  • As of Nov. 15, 2011, HPS owed more than $1.7 million in accounts payable, which range from 30 days to 6 months old. These accounts payable, particularly the most aged, pose serious risk that HPS residents would be required to pay additional property taxes if one or more of the accounts payable were converted to a court-ordered judgment levy.

"The thorough review completed by the Financial Review Team clearly shows that HPS is facing monumental financial challenges," said State Treasurer Andy Dillon. "The looming threat of missed payments necessitates that action be taken immediately to ensure the students of Highland Park continue to receive a quality education."

"The Highland Park school district is in a financial free-fall and we must do everything we can to protect the students and educators from feeling the brunt of the impact," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "The quality education of the Highland Park students is our top priority."

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