And now it’s Pontiac Public Schools. Gov. Snyder was told yesterday by the three-member Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board that the district is in probable distress. The governor will now assign a review team to the district to determine if they are in a financial emergency under the provisions of the new Emergency Manager law, Public Act 436 of 2012. Democracy Tree doesn’t need a crystal ball to assure our readers that the team will declare that the sky is indeed falling in Pontiac Schools. They will soon join the City of Hamtamck who, just a few days ago, were told to choose between emergency management, a consent agreement, a neutral evaluation process, or chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Pontiac Schools will not be under serious threat of being dissolved under the new laws recently proposed in the Michigan House to allow the state superintendent of schools to force the consolidation of smaller districts. They are pushing for this because Snyder’s emergency management scheme is too expensive for smaller districts to maintain.
Prediction: It is probably safe to go out on another limb and predict it’s only a short matter of time before lawmakers propose legislation for smaller fiscally distressed local units of government to be similarly dissolved under state order and forced to merge with a larger unit. The state will probably also sweeten the pot by offering additional revenue sharing to the larger “receiving” unit as an enticement as they are trying to do for schools by offering a 10 percent bump in per pupil funding to the “receiving” district.
Amy Kerr Hardin