State approves Flint school's debt elimination plan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

State approves Flint school's debt elimination plan

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(02/05/14) - The Michigan Department of Education has approved the Flint school district's plan to get rid of their multi-million dollar debt.

The plan addresses the district's $10 million budget debt, but They also owe nearly $9 million to the Genesee Intermediate District for misspending millage money.

That plan saves them from an emergency manager for now, but it will mean big changes and cuts.

The district needed to submit a plan to get rid of their debt to the state - otherwise, the state would step in with an emergency manager. The district did submit a plan, and the state approved it.

Now it's time to put it into action.

The board is working to cut wherever it can, approving six layoffs Wednesday night, most outside the classroom. Eighteen teachers and staff members retired.

Ten employees who work directly with students were recalled, but more cuts are coming.

"Does that mean more school closures? Possibly. More lay offs? Possibly," said interim superintendent Larry Watkins.

The plan includes a 19 percent cut to teachers' wages and compensation, adding kids to the classroom and closing schools. The district is also going to have to check in with the state weekly and monthly to make sure they're on track.

"Some more tough decisions are going to have to be made," Watkins said.

At least one teacher is happy with the direction the board is heading, despite the cuts.

"We're going to be that premier district once again that people look at and say look, Flint, Michigan district beat the odds, beat the government and we took care of our schools and our kids and our families," said Kathy Lisk, third grade teacher at Holmes Stem Academy.

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