Flint school board has second emergency meeting to discuss bleak finances

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez attends an emergency meeting to discuss the district's bleak finances.
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FLINT (WJRT) (11/7/2019) - Flint Community Schools board members had an emergency meeting Thursday for the second time this week to discuss the district's bleak finances.

A recent independent audit of finances from the 2018-2019 school year raised alarms about the district vastly exceeding its spending budgets while enrollment continues falling.

The Board of Education is huddling to decide how to proceed with deficit elimination plans.

The firm Plante Moran pointed out in a letter to Flint schools administrators that the district has a $3.3 million general fund deficit.

"Management represents that the School District anticipates a further loss of students for fiscal year 2020, ongoing cash flow shortages, and significant future debt obligations," the letter says.

RELATED: Dismal finances place future of Flint Community Schools in doubt

Financial struggles for the district have been ongoing for years. The loss of students has likely been the biggest issue.

Over the last decade, Flint Community Schools has lost roughly 10,000 students -- and each one of them is worth more than $7,000 in state per-pupil funding.

In the 2003-2004 school year, Flint schools had more than 20,000 students enrolled. The dropped to fewer than 14,000 five years later.

By 2013, enrollment had been cut nearly in half again to about 7,200 students. Last fall, the student count stood at around 4,200.

In response, the district has closed and consolidated schools. But they're still having to pay the operating costs of the buildings currently sitting vacant.

This issue came up during the earlier emergency meeting on Monday.

The Michigan departments of Treasury and Education declined to comment Thursday about the financial situation Flint schools are facing. Flint Superintendent Derrick Lopez also declined to comment.

Representatives from the Flint teachers union planned to attend Thursday's meeting.