Flint Schools to downsize district - WNEM TV 5

Flint Schools to downsize district

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The Flint school board cleared a big hurdle Thursday in what will be a very long journey aimed at rightsizing and downsizing the district.

The school board approved it's deficit elimination plan Thursday in a 5-to-1 vote.

Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins says the plan puts his district on track to have a budget surplus of 400-thousand dollars by the end of fiscal year 2016.

"The plan is attainable, but we have to make some very significant cuts. We have projected declining enrollment of approximately 16-hundred students and that definitely has an affect on the state aid," said Watkins.

The district is projected to lose hundreds of students over the next 3-to-4 years. Currently, district enrollment stands at 77-hundred students.

School officials project that will drop by 650 students in the upcoming school year, 590 in the 2014-2015 school year, and another 570 kids in the following school year. That overall loss is projected to be 27-million dollars.

The deficit elimination plan calls for the district to layoff 570 personnel from 2012-to-2016. 296 will be teachers. 290 will be non-teaching staff.

Despite those cuts, district leaders are still looking for other ways to reduce the deficit. Ideas include offloading more school buildings, and selling the districts warehouse.

But not all school board members were on board with the plan. But after years of debt, board president Antoinette Lockett says they really had no other choice.

"If we don't do it then we have another scenario come into play and that's us not being able to manage our own district," said Lockett.

If the Flint Community School's deficit elimination plan is approved, the state will do periodic checks on the district, the first of which is this November.

That's so the state can ensure the district doesn't deviate from the plan.

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