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WATCH: Metro Detroit education leaders discuss 'financial crisis' schools face amid pandemic

Posted at 5:04 AM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 12:23:26-04

(WXYZ) — Back to school plans are continuing to be finalized by school districts in the metro Detroit area, but questions continue to surround the issue of funding.

Some metro Detroit education leaders will host a media roundtable Friday morning to discuss what they call a financial crisis schools are facing.

This comes as schools officials make difficult decisions on just how to start the school year.

Watch roundtable discussion below:

Grosse Pointe schools is one of school districts that are starting off the year virtual.

Ferndale, Rochester Schools and Northville public schools will also be virtual learning in September.

Some school districts, like Dearborn schools, are still finalizing their plans.

“We want to take as much time as we can to make a well-informed plan because we also know that the situation is continuing to change," according to the Dearborn schools administration.

Dearborn schools are discussing back to school plans, going over three recommend models.

One is almost fully virtual minus learning labs and small groups for children who need extra support or have special needs.

Another plan is hybrid for elementary students and virtual for secondary.

The third plan - hybrid for all grades.

The Dearborn School Board will decide Monday.

"No matter what decision is made there will people who are not pleased."

Over in Novi, the school board went with a hybrid model and virtual option.

Last month, 7 Action News talked with the school superintendent who said he wasn’t supportive of a hybrid model — but as he showed 7 Action News reporter Kim Russell the spacing needed in a classroom to practice social distancing will not allow for a full-time program.

He says summer school was successful and believes it can keep kids safe.

"We are going to use the lessons we learned there and translate some of those lessons into what we are going to do this fall," said the Novi superintendent.

These decisions are being made while questions about school funding loom.

School officials want to know how online learning will be funded. What will per pupil funding be for this school year and will last year’s enrollment be used to determine funding as more students are being home-schooled this year.

No word yet on when the state legislature will have the answers.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist says as a parent, he is frustrated by this.

“The legislature, their whole job is to figure out the purse strings. So they need to step up and do that.”

Education leaders in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties also calling on clear answers when it comes to funding.

The virtual discussion was held at 9:30 a.m. Friday.