- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Fifty-seven Michigan school districts and charter schools had budget deficits at the end of the latest fiscal year, up from 52 at the same time a year earlier, the state’s top education official said.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan reported the figures Friday to the state House and Senate education budget subcommittees. This year’s list includes the Detroit Public Schools, the state’s largest district, with about 47,000 students.

One of the 52 districts that had deficits June 30, 2013, merged with another district in the year that followed. Two eliminated their deficits after the 2013 fiscal year ended, and one charter school closed, the report said.

The state said that 55 districts and charter schools still have deficits, while two charter schools on the list have closed since the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

The Detroit schools are operating under a state-appointed emergency financial manager. The district submitted a revised deficit elimination plan Aug. 15 reflecting the defeat of a property tax increase request for the district and including a proposed 10 percent compensation concession by district employees, Flanagan said.

He said the state Department of Education accepted the Detroit district’s plan Aug. 19, “although I subsequently expressed reservations with the 10 percent concessions and its potential impact on student achievement.”

Flanagan said the department requested that Detroit school officials submit a revised deficit elimination plan.

“The district’s audited financial statements reflect that the deficit has grown to $169.4 million. We continue to have dialogue with the emergency manager and chief financial officer of the district,” Flanagan wrote.

Listed districts must submit deficit-elimination plans to the department.

The Atlanta, Avondale, Bedford, Menominee, Muskegon, Oak Park, Redford Union, River Rouge and Romulus districts are among the districts that got off the list of districts in deficit, while Akron-Fairgrove, Cheboygan, Garden City, Iron Mountain, South Lake, Suttons Bay and Warren schools have joined it.

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Online:

Report: http://1.usa.gov/1JK7aPM

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