Bake sales, magazine subscriptions and car washes ... it seems school systems are perennially low on money.
But with one Michigan school system closing its doors before the school year ends, others consolidating to save money, and still another giving up on its high school; Michigan schools seem to be in an especially bad spot.
Blame gets spread around.
It's the economy - mismanagement - declining enrollment - excessive funding cuts - high retiree costs - or cumbersome union contracts.
Pick whatever reason you like best, it doesn't change the fact that many Michigan schools are in trouble.
The State's Deputy Superintendent of Schools wrote this in a recent memo to local school officials:
"... we have seen a marked increase in the number of districts that have experienced a deficit fund balance. The magnitude of some of these districts seems almost insurmountable."
Let's give it a little perspective.
Over the last decade, here are the number of schools that ran a deficit in a given school year.
Michigan had 742 school districts in 2002-2003. Today, the state has 805 districts.
Of the 805 districts today, as the chart shows, 49 are running deficits.
Here are the fifteen schools in Michigan with the biggest projected budget deficits as a percentage of their expected overall revenue. It should be noted that these numbers could change as the school year advances.