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Financial emergency declared in Highland Park schools--again

A state review team has again declared a state of financial emergency in the Highland Park school district.

But the district may not be able to keep its doors open long enough to see its former emergency manager reinstated.

Governor Snyder had already appointed an emergency manager, Jack Martin, for Highland Park schools.

But a court found that the financial review process violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, forcing the emergency manager to step down.

So the review team held what amounted to a hasty do-over during a meeting Wednesday afternoon—and found, again, that the district is in a financial emergency.

That’s no secret to anyone in Highland Park, including parents like Melissa Ross. She’s worried about what will happen if teachers don’t get paid Friday. The district could run out of money by then.

“I can’t deal with the stress,” Ross said. “I got a text message from my daughter that school’s gonna be closed Friday if the teachers don’t get paid.”

“I don’t care if there’s an emergency manager. I could care less. They just need to fix this, by any means necessary.”

But Governor Snyder says the state won’t forward Highland Park more cash to bridge the gap. And it’s unlikely the Governor could reinstate an emergency manager before Friday, says Terry Stanton, spokesman for the state Treasury Department.

“That would probably be very difficult, time-wise,” Stanton said. “I’m not sure it’s possible, given the time frame.”

In the meantime, the district’s school board retains authority. They meet on Thursday to decide a course of action.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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