Judge declines to remove Highland Park (Mich.) district emergency manager

March 23, 2012
Jack Martin will be permitted to finish the school year, but appointment may be revisited

From The Detroit Free Press: An judge has denied a request seeking to immediately remove Highland Park (Mich.) schools district emergency manager Jack Martin for a second time. Chief Judge William Collette says he will allow Martin to finish the school year, but says Martin's reinstatement as emergency manager deserves a closer look. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Martin in January to head the financially strapped school district, but asked him to step down weeks later after Collette ruled the state financial review team, which advised Snyder to appoint an emergency manager, violated the Open Meetings Act.

Earlier...from The Detroit Free Press: The Michigan Department of Education has given the Highland Park School District an advance on its state aid, meaning employees will get paid Friday -- a week late. The $178,000 advance on the March 20 state payment -- the second advance the district has received this year -- will provide a short-term fix to a financial crisis in the district that has led to an $11-million deficit. Despite the lack of a payday, employees came to work every day this week. FEBRUARY 2012....from The Detroit News: Parents in the Highland Park (Mich.) district are trying to decide whether to keep their children in the district's schools or transfer them to another district or charter school. Those are the choices families have after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed emergency legislation that provides $4 million for students in the financially troubled school system. Under the legislation, about $4,000 will follow each child wherever they enroll, but the money cannot go to the Highland Park district. Earlier...from The Detroit Free Press: The Highland Park (Mich.) school district is on the brink of financial collapse and could shut down as early as next week without emergency intervention, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says. Widespread and long-term mismanagement have left the district virtually broke, with only $40,000 on hand to meet the payroll Friday. Earlier...From The Detroit News: The emergency manager of the Highland Park (Mich.) school district has to step down because of a court ruling, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says, and district employees could go without being paid unless the school board acts. Snyder says the state no longer will bail out the financially strapped district. It already has advanced $188,000 to the district to make payroll through mid-February. A judge has ruled that the appointment of Jack Martin as emergency manager was invalid because the state had violated the Open Meetings Act. JANUARY 2011...from The Detroit News: The newly appointed emergency manager of the Highland Park (Mich.) school district has decided to close one of the struggling district's K-8 schools. Jack Martin announced that the Barber Focus School for K-8 children would close in the coming week for the rest of the school year and students would move to Henry Ford Academy. Barber has 278 students enrolled, and Ford has 222 students enrolled but each building has a capacity for 800 students. Meanwhile, a school board member in Highland Park has gone to court to try to block Martin from taking control of the district.

From The Detroit News: An emergency manager will take over Highland Park (Mich.) Schools. Gov. Rick Snyder, saying a financial emergency exists in the Highland Park School District, has appointed Jack Martin as emergency manager, effective Jan. 30. Martin, a certified public accountant, was chief financial officer for the U.S. Department of Education from January 2002 through December 2005.


From The Detroit Free Press: While Michigan officials decide whether to put the fiscally troubled Highland Park Schools under an emergency manager, observers see another likely fate: consolidation with a neighboring school system. District officials will make their case for avoiding a state takeover at a hearing later this week before state school Superintendent Mike Flanagan. Highland Park required a cash advance from the state last week to stay open. The district has fewer than 1,000 students and an $18.8 million budget.

Also....from The Detroit Free Press: A review team in Michiganis recommending that Gov. Rick Snyder appoint an emergency manager for the Highland Park School District to resolve its fiscal crisis. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the district "is in a financial free fall, and we must do everything we can to protect the students and educators from feeling the brunt of the impact." The team is recommending an emergency manager because the district's deficit, which was $11.3 million on June 30, increased 51% from the previous year. The team also cited declining enrollment, the fact that the district has been in a deficit for five of the last six fiscal years and that it owed more than $1.7 million in accounts payable.

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