Highland Park School officials want to stop emergency manager takeover

Jan 20, 2012

Highland Park school district officials are trying to convince the state not to appoint an emergency manager to run the district. A hearing today in Lansing may be their last chance.   

A state review panel says the Highland Park School District is in a ‘Financial Crisis’.   The district is $11 million in debt.   It’s student population has plunged from more than 3000 students in 2006 to less than a thousand today.    

A review panel member says the school board’s efforts at reducing their budget deficit have been “going in the wrong direction”.    

But district counsel George Butler says there are other options to fixing the district’s financial problems, short of appointing an emergency manager.   

“The disenfranchisement of a locally elected school board should be a very, very serious step," says Butler,  "It is counter intuitive to what a democracy is…at a local level.”    

The governor’s decision over whether to appoint an emergency manager to run Highland Park schools will be guided by the hearing officer’s report.   

There are currently four Michigan cities and one other school districts being run by emergency managers.