Detroit Schools to help run ailing Highland Park
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich.—The financially troubled Detroit Public Schools will help manage the ailing Highland Park school district for the rest of the academic year.
Michigan officials announced Friday that an agreement was reached with the districts. Both school systems are operating with the help of state-appointed emergency managers.
"This unique agreement will ensure that students, who did not cause the district's financial emergency, will have the ability to finish the school year at HPS," state Treasury Andy Dillon said in a release.
The move comes after the Michigan Legislature passed a bill allowing another district to come in and run the Highland Park school system, which is struggling to keep its buildings open. Highland Park students will have the option of remaining in their current classrooms with their current teachers.
Starting Friday, the 66,000-student Detroit Schools began helping manage and operate the much smaller Highland Park district. Personnel-related functions on behalf of Highland Park will be supported by Detroit Schools.
Detroit Schools also will receive student transition grants of $4,000 per pupil.
"Our goal is to ensure that students face as little disruption as possible," said Jack Martin, Highland Park's state-appointed emergency manager.
Highland Park is a small enclave of Detroit. The district faces an $11.3 million budget deficit. It has had an operating deficit in five of the past six fiscal years. Enrollment has dropped from 3,179 students to about 969 during the past five years. Much of a school district's funding in Michigan is directly tied to its number of students.
The Detroit Public Schools is not without its own financial troubles. The district has lost thousands of students in recent years and faces a projected budget deficit of $84 million.