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State says fewer schools in financial trouble

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There are fewer school districts in severe financial peril, according to a quarterly report compiled by the Michigan Department of Education.

 

Last year, there were 41 school districts and charter schools with deficits. That number is down to 27 this year. And Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston says that number could be down to 18 districts by June.

 

Whiston says the improving economy is helping with more revenue, and a recently adopted “early warning” law is helping to flag districts before they’re too deep in trouble.

 

“The legislation’s working,” he said. “There’s a spotlight on these districts … get these districts before they’re into deficit. And it’s working. Either they’re coming off or they have increasing fund balances.”

 

Whiston no new school districts appear headed toward emergency management, although some are struggling with large deficits. Highland Park is the only Michigan district currently under emergency management. 

 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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