In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

Apr 20, 2012

Struggling School Districts

Michigan school districts are struggling with growing budget deficits and even relatively wealthy districts are facing unprecedented cuts. Jennifer Guerra reports:

The Ann Arbor Public School district faces a $17.8 million deficit. The district's budget for the 2011-12 school year is $183 million. Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen met with the district's Board of Education on Wednesday, where he laid out three possible plans to deal with the deficit in Ann Arbor – each one progressively more severe. Ann Arbor School Board president Deb Mexicotte says the cuts are "reaching the bone," and "if you keep cutting, you’re going to reach the place where you can no longer maintain what you do well." The major difference between Ann Arbor and many other struggling school districts is that Ann Arbor has around $18 million in so-called "rainy day funds" from which it can pull.

Detroit Finances

Governor Snyder’s office released the names of three members appointed to the Detroit Financial Advisory Board yesterday. The consent agreement the city signed with the state earlier this month calls for the creation of the nine-member board which will have oversight over the city’s finances. “Former state Treasurer Robert Bowman, currently president and CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media LP, is the joint appointee of Snyder and Bing. Darrell Burks, currently a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be one of three individuals appointed by Gov. Snyder, and Ken Whipple, chairman of the board of Korn/Ferry International, is Treasurer Dillon’s appointee to the FAB,” a press release from the Snyder administration explains. Six appointments to the board are left.

Pontiac EM's Water Plans

Pontiac Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel says Oakland County has agreed to issue $55 million in bonds for the municipal water and wastewater treatment systems, helping the city get out of debt, the Associated Press reports. "The plan would make the water system a stand-alone public corporation. Schimmel said Thursday that the move is projected to save about $52 million over 30 years. He says the savings plus the $55 million in cash will hasten his departure, "which should make some people happy. Schimmel says he may be able to finish reorganizing Pontiac's finances this this year, rather than in 2013," the AP reports.