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Traverse City Area Public Schools did not follow law, MI Dept. of Ed. says

Back of a school bus

Traverse City Public Schools lost its appeal to the Michigan Department of Education over a more than $700,000 student counting dispute.

In the summer of 2018, the MDE audited the school district. It found problems with its virtual program, Northern Michigan Partnership. State officials say only home-schooled students used the program.

The MDE said the virtual program wasn't accessible to full-time students in the district.

Kyle Guerrant is the Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations with the MDE. He says the department doesn't take away funding lightly.

"We understand the impact that this has on the district and its education for students. But it's also our authority to make sure that taxpayer dollars are distributed through state aid in accordance with the law," Guerrant says.

Sue Kelly is the President of the Board of Education for the Traverse City Area Public Schools. She says MDE did not tell the school in a reasonable time frame.

"These are families that have been counting on that education portion. I mean, these are people that are paying taxes that deserve education for their children," Kelly says.

The Interim State Superintendent, Sheila Alles, issued her decision this week, following the district's appeal.