Michigan School Districts Dissolved by State Decree

imagesCAV8XBNNWith all the brouhaha about Detroit these past few days, another story slipped through the cracks — a tale of yet one more attack on democracy and home rule in the state of Michigan.

State Treasurer, Andy Dillon, had a busy schedule this week –helping to ram-rod a bankruptcy filing for Detroit, and then obtaining court approval for joint restraining orders for himself and his ex-wife, not allowing them to have contact so, as his attorney explained, he won’t be distracted from his state duties.

Dillon’s job involved ordering the dissolution of both Buena Vista and Inkster schools under the new law the legislature rushed through at the close of their spring session at the behest of State Schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan. Dillon and Flanagan are forcing the cash-starved schools to close instead of the state deploying one of the other two hammers found in their tool box — emergency management and bankruptcy. Under their latest scheme, in the face of fiscal crisis, smaller districts will be forced to close permanently, while those that merit the high cost of emergency management will simply be taken over. The bankruptcy option of course, is reserved for large insolvent municipalities, like Detroit.

Democracy Tree has written several times on the myths and mistruths about consolidations and forced mergers. The numbers just don’t add up to a savings.

The superintendent of Wayne-Westland Community Schools, Gregory Baracy, expressed his concern about his district being forced to take on all of the Inkster district:

“It may look good on paper, but I don’t think anybody up there (in Lansing) has thought out the logistics of this — especially with only a month before school starts. We’ll do our best to comply with the law and we’ll certainly do whatever we can … to make it as comfortable and as seamless for families as we possibly can.”

At least the “receiving” school districts will get the full per pupil foundation grant from the state to compensate for the students they must take-on, plus a 10 percent bonus for four years. Residents of the dissolved school districts will remain liable for the full debt load –with no replacement source of revenue.

Brilliant guys, really.

Amy Kerr Hardin


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6 Responses to Michigan School Districts Dissolved by State Decree

  1. Bill says:

    While I agree on the fact that the current body running this state has an agenda of dissolving community services and forcing communities share services. I disagree on the point of this story being hidden, especially behind the Detroit story. I heard this more times than I can count. In fact the Detroit story was usually a lead in to the story of the school districts being dissolved.

    I have to say that for such an informed article it certainly lacks anything substantive other than a couple of quotes and hype.

    If this is such a horrible thing, then please tell me how bad the reaction would have been to allow the districts to open for the year and collapse half way through? That is if they could have made it that long. Please explain how you could have rushed in and saved the districts that have been bleeding money without an expanding tax base that could support it? Why, instead of the going after the people who have to drop the ax, are you not going after the administrations and boards that failed their students and communities? I ask this since you felt the need to publicly blast the decision makers.

    • admin says:

      It is safe to assume you live in the greater Detroit area… Or perhaps near Saginaw? The most recent developments in this story were isolated to those media markets, so the rest of the state and the nation remain unaware. Plus, the hammer didn’t really fall until today, after these districts missed their 5 pm dealine yesterday. Maybe your media has special time travel powers that the rest of the state lacks.

      As to your final point which makes the claim that the fiscal crises (that’s plural) that directly afflict (by Snyder’s standards) fully 10 percent of Michigan’s schools, and by an independent third party evaluation found it to be at 30 percent, with many more tipping that direction, as being caused by incompetence rather than fiscal inequalities and starvation, then perhaps it is time you make an appointment with any school district CFO in the state of Michigan and have a hardcore number-crunching session with them. I did, and that’s where I get my “quotes and hype” from.

      Thank you for your input.

  2. I very much appreciate all of the Democracy Tree postings…I comment on and share each one. They are “very much”, informative and as far as I can tell very factual. I have been following the EFM situation since the Benton Harbor take over and said then, that it was done as a kind of ‘trial run” to see just how much kick back they would get….then on to Flint, Pontiac, Ecorse, Allen Park now Detroit which is Snyder’s “crowning jewel” his personal gift to Bain, and Romney whose very wish was to “let Detroit go Bankrupt” and now it is and it was done the “BAIN” way! Our salvation, and retribution and their problem is that, while ALEC, Wall Street and the rest of the ilk that is destroying America is successful and they continue to spend billions doing it, they are turning their normal, decent, intelligent Republican constituents into Independents, or God help them Democrats!
    Look at N.C. and Moral Monday, for instance; Freedom Works or whatever their name is, the ALEC/Koch Brothers funded organizations, the lobbyists, and all the billions they ‘ve lost turning blue to red is all going to backfire and “is backfiring” right now, especially in NC, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, and so many more Red States…it’s like they have insulted the intelligence of a Nation! They have spent billions to attack ALL citizens except those of influence and power among themselves.
    In so doing, I believe they have strengthened the solidarity of all Americans be they, Republican, Democrat or Independents, even those who were of no particular party have suffered at the hands of their Greed….Billions of dollars cannot quell the thirst for freedom and democracy, especially that of Billions of “Patriot Americans”! vote blue in 2014!

  3. Richard T. Desvernine Jr. says:

    Administrative incompetence is in the eye of the beholder. The State is required to provide and education to each and every student in the Michigan. Revenue sharing (school aid) from the state to the municipalities has been steadily decreased from the state since the year 2,000. Taxes at the state level have been increased on everyone expect for the $1.8 Billion Dollars in unsolicited tax cuts to big businesses –money that Snyder and cronies had no business giving away. They will stop at nothing to destroy public education and the public sector and blame it on administrators. They’ll destroy government from the inside out and blame it on Detroit? It’s what the TEA Party does, falsely points the finger and let everyone tear everyone else to pieces. But the people are getting wise. This is still a democracy and this will not stand. The people are smarter and better than to fall for it over and over again.

  4. John says:

    The people are not “smarter and better than to fall for it over and over again” because it is happening “over and over again.

  5. barbara pallante says:

    So what are we suppose to do now? There aren’t as many kids in schools, a lot of daddies have decided not to work at all because their maleness is worth more than minimum wage, but not the mommy even if she has to work 2 jobs to support her family, and junior and baby girl need a computer in their class room and to do their home work. The buses need cameras and the drivers need cell phone to call the dispatcher. The schools all need metal detectors and guards to walk the halls. At the end of the day the school now has to have an alarm system. And…..the school districts has to pay 6 figured incomes to some board members to keep them…. let’s not forget that outside companies have to be hired to feed these kids and clean schools and their grounds….Look in your neighbor hood and count how many kids there are in it…now count the old people and empty – nesters there are….In my area there is one family (with 1-3 children) to about 5 or 6 without maybe more. This kind of math don’t = the amount of taxes needed to keep going WAKE UP MICHIGAN and get a hold of yourself..

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