Education
9:28 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Agreement lets Highland Park schools stay open through the school year

The Detroit school district has stepped in to help make sure the Highland Park public schools stay open for the rest of the school year.

But there are still plenty of questions about what happens after that.

The state had to advance Highland Park money last week, or the district would have gone broke.

And the state did—but with the provision that the money couldn’t go to the Highland Park school district, per se.

Now Highland Park’s newly re-appointed emergency manager, Jack Martin, has signed an agreement that allows the Detroit Public Schools to act as a kind of financial intermediary.

They’ll also look at providing some of Highland Park schools’ services.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko says this agreement lets Detroit act as a kind of “financial partner for the money to flow through.”

But he notes it only covers four months.

“There clearly are long-term issues that Mr Martin has to review, as our own emergency manager is doing in Detroit--and clearly there are decisions to be made after the four-month agreement which takes us to the end of the current school year, expires,” Wasko said.

Some observers think this is a first step toward shutting down Highland Park schools (the district’s enrollment has plunged to fewer than 1000 students) altogether, and possibly merging them with Detroit schools.

But Wasko says that’s not true—at least for now. “This is not a step in that direction in any way shape or form, and there have not been any discussions along those lines,” he said.