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Mon January 30, 2012
Highland Park leaders gather against state take over of school district
The new emergency manager appointed to run the Highland Park schools began work today.
Meanwhile, community leaders gathered at the school district’s administrative building to call for residents and parents to publicly challenge the state’s decision to appoint an emergency manager and the emergency manager law.
Democratic State Senator Bert Johnson said state officials should view Highland Park as an opportunity to include residents and parents in on the conversation about turning school districts around.
“Once an emergency manager has left, what has resulted from their leadership, or the lack-there-of, the citizens will grapple with into the future,” said Johnson. “And so I hope they understand that this is a smart move in the right direction. And if you can’t get behind this, you can’t get behind democracy.”
Glenda McDonald is a resident of Highland Park and a former school district employee. She said students have been leaving the district in droves because of chronic disinvestment in the schools and community.
“We want our children to come back,” said McDonald. “And in order to do that, the community must be a part of this process. We must have community involvement. We must have parent involvement.”
The Highland Park district joins Detroit Public Schools as the only school districts with emergency managers. The cities of Ecorse, Pontiac, Flint and Benton Harbor also have emergency managers.