Pontiac schools agree to state consultant, avoiding emergency manager appointment

Sep 19, 2013

Pontiac’s Board of Education approved a consent agreement with the state, in an attempt to avoid a financial manager appointment.

According to the Associated Press, there were four options on the table for the struggling school district, which runs a $38-million deficit:

1. The district could accept a consent agreement with the state.

2. An emergency manager could be appointed.

3. A neutral evaluation process could be undertaken.

4. A Chapter 9 bankruptcy suit could be filed.

By choosing the first option, the district’s Superintendent Kelley William will now begin a two-year working partnership with a financial consultant appointed by Andy Dillon, the state’s treasurer.

As The Oakland Press’s Diana Dillaber Murray reported, if that partnership doesn’t help the district meet certain improvements outlined by the state, “Dillon is free, under the law, to put the district into receivership, the first step to an emergency manager.”

While William remains optimistic about the state partnership, Aimee McKeever, president of the district’s teachers union, called the consent agreement a “dictatorship” under Dillion.

Under the 20-page agreement, previously bargained contracts cannot be broken — though new contracts need approval from Dillion. According to Murray, “Almost all district employee contracts have expired and must be renegotiated.”

The consultant, who has not yet been named, will originally be paid for by the school district, which will later be reimbursed by the state. Murray reported the salary is set at $750,000 for the two years.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom