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State treasury wants lawmakers to double emergency money available to cash-strapped schools

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

Michigan is nearly out of money to lend school districts in case of financial emergencies.

The state treasury department had up to $50 million total to lend school districts facing financial emergencies. That amount was supposed to last through 2018. But that apparently it isn’t going to be enough.

The department is asking lawmakers to lift the cap to $100 million. A bill to lift the cap was introduced in the legislature last year, but it never passed.

Benton Harbor Area Schools’ board of education voted last week to ask for $1.4 million dollar loan. Without it, district leaders said they won’t be able to pay its bills. BHAS already borrowed $4 million in emergency loans.

If the state agrees to lend the money, it won’t really have any left to offer other districts in similar situations.

Two smaller districts, Muskegon Heights and Inkster schools borrowed the most money.  Pontiac and Highland Park schools borrowed almost all the rest.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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