Like Saginaw, Bridgeport Schools got state aid warning - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Like Saginaw, Bridgeport Schools got state aid warning

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(02/11/14) - Another Mid-Michigan school district, facing money troubles, was in danger of losing its February funding.

We're learning Bridgeport-Spaulding Schools barely made its Monday deadline to get its deficit elimination plan to the state Department of Education.
So what happens now?

While there has been a lot of focus on Saginaw, the Bridgeport-Spaulding district is also trying to wipe out a deficit and educate kids at the same time.

"My person goes into overdrive to say, 'I've sent you this, this and this, what don't you have,'" said Bridgeport-Spaulding superintendent Gloria Rubis.

The district got a letter from the Michigan Department of Education in late January. The letter warned that if the district didn't submit a deficit elimination plan by Feb. 10, state aid for the month would be withheld.  

"They did get a revised DEP into us this past weekend, so we are currently reviewing that DEP," says Bill DiSessa of the Michigan Department of Education.

Rubis says she thought the state had already received the deficit elimination plan. She believes working with a number of people within the Department of Education led to some confusion.

"Tell me what you want and I will do it, but let's not keep passing it around," Rubis said.

Bridgeport is in the third year of a five-year deficit elimination plan. The district's debt stood at $3.2 million this summer, but Rubis says they have reduced that number. The district received some students from the now dissolved Buena Vista district, which brought in additional revenue, but Rubis says not everyone understood there would be additional expenses.

"When you break down the finances, when you actually cost analyze everything, when you have to add teachers, and have to add bus runs," Rubis says.

John Lagalo's ninth grade U.S. history class is getting a lesson on past money troubles in this country. Rubis hopes the state will eventually give more financial help to all school districts, but until then, "We will educate children and give them a quality education," Rubis said.

Rubis admits the ongoing money situation is depressing.

"This is no way of doing business," she said.

Bill DiSessa of the Michigan Department of Education says its not clear when the MDE will give a thumbs up or down to Bridgeport's deficit elimination plan.

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