Dismal finances place future of Flint Community Schools in doubt

Auditors from Plante Moran raised a dismal financial outlook for Flint Community Schools after...
Auditors from Plante Moran raised a dismal financial outlook for Flint Community Schools after looking at budget and spending numbers from the 2018-2019 school year. (WJRT)
Published: Nov. 5, 2019 at 6:51 PM EST
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(11/5/2019) - Flint Community Schools is facing a dismal financial situation after decades of declining enrollment and years of exceeding its spending budgets.

The district that once boasted 45,000 students may not be able to overcome a huge financial burden.

Ongoing financial challenges for Flint schools have been well documented over the years. Plante Moran looked at the numbers from the fiscal year that ended in June 2018 and found the district's general fund spending went over budget by nearly $10 million.

That same report, which covers the last school year, went on to say that the district had to cut expenditures significantly for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to avoid ending the year with a deficit.

The audit shows the district overspent its budget in every category. An example from last year's report shows the district budgeted $18 million for basic programs but actually spent more than $21 million.

Also in that report, a letter indicating the district anticipates losing more students this year and further cash flow shortages. Flint Community Schools administrators did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

A decade ago, Flint Community Schools had 13,456 students on count day. This fall, that number dropped to just over 3,800.

Plante Moran's report says these issues raise substantial doubt about the school district's ability to continue to function.

A special Board of Education meeting is scheduled Thursday night to discuss budget concerns for the district. An audit and a deficit elimination plan are on the agenda.

An official from the Michigan Department of Education will be visiting Flint schools on Thursday, but it's not clear if they'll be at the evening meeting.