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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Community Schools Board of Trustees approved a revised deficit elimination plan last night. 

But the district’s unions haven’t signed off on a key part of the plan. 

To make the plan work, district officials factored in a 15% pay cut for employees. District officials suggest without the contract concessions, the Flint school district could potentially start down the road to a state takeover.

Ethel Johnson is president of the United Teachers of Flint. She says they’ve already given up too much. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school board last night approved a plan to eliminate its $20.4 million deficit.  

But the plan relies on the district being able to do something it has struggled to do:  retain students.

The Flint school district delivers its revised deficit elimination plan to the state Department of Education tomorrow.  The plan calls for zeroing out a $20.4 million deficit by the end of 2021.    

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint School Board will hear the findings of the district’s most recent audit this evening.

The audit is expected to show continued problems with misspent funds, lax oversight and other issues.

“Our students deserve the very best and we’re definitely going to do that. In order for us to do that, we’re going to have to turn this district around,” says Larry Watkins, Flint’s interim school superintendent.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s Board of Education last night deadlocked on plans to close a half dozen schools next fall.   The board argued for more than five hours before giving up hope of agreeing on which middle and elementary schools to close. 

Board member David Davenport strongly opposed two different proposals which would have closed the districts three middle schools and three elementary schools, most on the city's northside.

"That's not fair to the children who are going to suffer," said Davenport, "Because they're going to be packed in or bussed somewhere else."

Several board members also expressed concerns with expanding the student populations at Flint's high schools to include 7th and 8th grade students.

Next year the school district is looking at a $19 million deficit.   Closing schools is critical for the district to stay within a deficit reduction plan submitted to the state.        A point that several Board of Education members repeatedly cited.

"We’ll just have to go back to see if we can craft it so that we get one more vote," said board member Harold Woodson after the meeting, "That’s basically what we need.  One more vote to get it moved forward so…..but it has to happen.”

And it has to happen quickly.  

The Flint Board of Education will soon have to pass a budget plan for next year.   That plan will require decisions to be made as to which schools will be open this fall. 

One member of the public told the board members that they were in a "pickle".   A statement none of the board members appeared to disagree with. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A divided Flint School Board narrowly approved a state mandated deficit elimination plan last night.   

The board first deadlocked whether to approve the $3.7 million deficit elimination plan. After being told the district would potentially lose some pending state funding, the board revoted on the plan and passed it.  

Linda Thompson is Flint’s school superintendent. She said the plan should help the district avoid falling under the oversight of a state appointed emergency manager. Maybe.   

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office will not step in to oversee Tuesday’s mayoral primary in Flint.  Two candidates asked the state election office to oversee the primary.   They cited problems in recent elections involving absentee ballots, computer glitches and votes being left in ballot boxes. 

Fred Woodhams is with the Secretary of State’s office.   He says the past problems did not indicate a need for state oversight.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Seven candidates will face off on Tuesday in Flint’s mayoral primary.   There are many issues facing the city of Flint:  The need for more economic development, the city’s budget problems.  But the biggest issue appears to be crime.  

Flint set a record last year for the number of homicides.   The violent crime rate has increased, as the number of police officers has declined.    Budget cuts have reduced Flint’s police force significantly in recent years.   

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Tuesday is the deadline for anyone who wants to be the mayor of Flint to get their nominating petition filed with the city clerk. More than 2 dozen people have expressed an interest in being Flint’s next mayor, including the man who currently holds the office.  

Dayne Walling plans to turn in his nominating petitions before Tuesday’s deadline. He’s been mayor since a special election a few years ago.  

“I’ve been in the position for less than 2 years at this point.  A lot of the work we’ve had to do has been to clean up the old messes.”  

Not everyone is happy with the job Walling’s done as mayor. Under Walling’s watch, violent crime has soared as budget cuts forced the city to lay off police officers.