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Flint school officials back off plan to close some schools, for now

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint school district officials are putting off decisions on closing some district schools.

Flint Community Schools are facing a multi-million dollar deficit. Earlier this month, district officials floated a proposal to eliminate the debt, that included closing some schools in January.

But that didn’t sit well with parents who packed Tuesday night’s Flint Board of Education meeting.

One parent told the board Flint children have “suffered enough.”

Superintendent Derrick Lopez told the overflow crowd at the meeting that district officials will not be closing any school buildings in January. The board plans to discuss what steps to take over the next few months. But Lopez says there's not a lot of time.  

“We do need to make a decision by February about what’s going to happen,” says Lopez.

He says any closures that take place will need to take place in the month of June.

“So (students and families) can be ready for the academic year next year,” says Lopez.

While Flint school board members all voiced opposition to closing schools, most did not close the door on the need to do so.

Flint schools are struggling financially for several reasons, including the cost of teaching special needs children. Those costs have risen since the city’s water crisis.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.