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Buena Vista schools approve plan, await state action

Sarah Alvarez
Michigan Radio

The Buena Vista School District unceremoniously shut down ten days ago, sending staff and students home for the year after the district ran out of money.

At Tuesday night’s emergency school board meeting there was almost universal confusion about what happens next. 

The school board unanimously approved a deficit elimination plan they hope will allow state aid payments to start up again so students can get back in the classroom. 

If that doesn't work, the board grudgingly approved a plan for a summer "skills building camp," in lieu of traditional classroom time.

Nobody at the meeting seemed very happy about that option.

Since the district is out of money the camp would be paid for with federal dollars, and help students in areas where standardized tests show they could use some help. There are still a lot of questions about how that model would work, including how children would get to the camp and who would teach them. 

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan tweeted after the school board meeting he's hoping the skills building camp will remain just a back-up plan. He said he wants the district to resume operations if the state approves their new deficit elimination plan.

High school basketball coach Tory Jackson said people just want a solution.

"It’s less about pointing fingers and more about getting these kids back in and getting them the proper education they need,” Jackson said. “They’ve been out for at least a week and a half now, so they’ve been missing out on a lot - final exams, things like that.

Parents at the meeting, including Beatrice Tatum, said parent’s patience is wearing thin and they will transfer their children out of the district if a solution isn’t found soon.


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