Michigan state superintendent Mike Flanagan and the Buena Vista School District held a news conference on Monday afternoon to announce a breakthrough deal regarding the district's financial crisis.
The deal now needs approval from the Buena Vista Township school board, which meets Tuesday.
Saginaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Richard Syrek told The Associated Press on Monday that Buena Vista School District students may be able to attend an "enhanced skills camp." He says the optional program will likely last 4-6 weeks.
That Enhancement Skills Camp could start as early as next week. Some teachers will be called back to help run the program, but it's not clear how much money will go to B.V. schools to run the program. It's also unclear just how many children will attend, because attendance will be voluntary.
According to WNEM TV5 reporter Brian Wood, the reason the state isn't giving the district any money is because the district's deficit elimination plan has not been approved. Title 1 money, which is federal money, and 31A money from the state of Michigan, will be going to the district.
The big news out of the meeting is that the Buena Vista school year is officially over. Officials stated that all students have fulfilled the requirements to advance to the next grade, including seniors and graduating.
The district laid off its teachers and all but three employees last Tuesday. It said it wouldn't make payroll because the state is withholding funding to recoup $580,000 for a program the district no longer operates.
Some local lawmakers have been calling on the state to use its rainy day fund to help the district but Gov. Rick Snyder says he is against the idea.
The district laid off teachers and all but three employees May 7. The district has said it wouldn't be able to make payroll May 24 because the state put a hold on its funding to recoup about $580,000 for a juvenile detention education program the district no longer operates.
Not everyone is happy with the developments, however. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) issued this statement following the announcement on Monday:
"The students of Buena Vista have a constitutional right to an education and deserve the same educational opportunities as other Michigan children, and that means being in a classroom full-time to complete their school year. I do not believe that a voluntary camp amounts to a proper education for the children of Buena Vista.
"It is dangerous precedent to allow school districts to close six weeks early as a cost-saving measure, only to replace a child's education with a voluntary camp. Such a patchwork fix fails to live up to a commitment to provide a quality education for students. Children deserve better. Simply shutting down the schools early hurts the students of Buena Vista and ultimately punishes the children for a problem they didn't create."
Meanwhile, Buena Vista alumni are coming together to make graduation and prom special. The district is accepting donations, in a separate account with all the money going to seniors. You can help too. Send a check or money order to 705 North Towerline and be sure to write "Class of 2013" on it.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press Contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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