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Plan to fix school district finances would fire teachers and staff

Highland Park Schools in Highland Park, Mich., could be converting to a combination public-charter district next school year under a plan announced Monday by Emergency Manager Joyce Parker, the Huffington Post reports. Parker, who is also the state-appointed emergency manager of the city of Ecorse, developed a draft financial and operating plan for the district over the last month with its previous emergency manager, Jack Martin, who himself was recently appointed Detroit’s chief financial officer under the city’s consent agreement with the state. The Highland Park School District has struggled with bad finances and falling enrollment for several years. In January, a financial review team found pupil enrollment for the district had fallen 58 percent between the 2006 and 2011 school years. It totaled the district’s cumulative general fund deficit at over $11 million in June of 2011.  Parker said Monday the school system’s expenditures still exceed revenues, and she estimated the deficit would jump by $4 or $5 million by the end of this month. The state bailed out the district with emergency funds in February and is expected to do so again in August…

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