Mon Jun 18, 2012, 06:56 PM
MichiganVote (19,350 posts)
Michigan legislature sells school districts to lowest bidder
Highland Park school district goes charter
Another Michigan public school district has chosen to sell its schools to the lowest charter company bidder. Highland Park school district will become the second charter school district, following the lead of Muskegon Heights schools.
According to Joyce Parker, Highland Park schools Emergency Manager, turning the school district over to a charter school management company is the only way to allow students to attend school in the fall. Facing an $11.3 million deficit, the Governor declared a financial emergency in January.
As in Muskegon Heights, the current district will exist only in a financial sense to pay off the debt. The new charter school management company will use state funding to provide educational programs for students.
Bids will be going out this week with plans to have a management company in place by mid-July.
Two charter school companies vie for Muskegon Heights schools
By the end of this week, Muskegon Heights Public Schools Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon will have sold the entire school district to one of two for-profit charter school management companies--Leona Group or Mosaica Education. It's an unprecedented move to eliminate the district's $12.4 million debt and it signals the end to traditional public education for more than 1,400 students in Muskegon Heights.
The current school district would no longer exist, but would still have to pay off the debt using its local millage, a 3 percent fee from the charter school company, rent from its buildings and whatever other means the state Department of Education and Treasury approve. The charter school would be in charge of educating children and receive the district's $7,397 per-pupil funding, but the school district would oversee the operations of the charter school company.
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