Flint School budget deficit $20 million, board closes school - WNEM TV 5

Flint School budget deficit $20 million, board votes to close Northern

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Another historic Flint school fell on Thursday night.

Extreme budget problems forced the Flint School Board to shut down Northern High School for good.

But, Northern's closure was not the worst of it.

"I was disappointed and shocked," said Flint schools parent Dawn Demps.

Collectively, jaws dropped Thursday night as the district learned the $10.4 million deficit they thought they were dealing with is likely to be closer to $20 million.

"Yes, there was some sloppy accounting done by the school district," said interim superintendent Larry Watkins.

The district's new chief financial officer, Richard Carpenter, shared the details with the board.  Carpenter also happens to be from the state. Watkins said he was devastated to hear this news.

"As we look at our grants, we need to look and make sure those grants were charged appropriately. As we look at our revenue, we did not hit that projected cost as well," said Watkins.

Watkins said the district immediately informed the state, and the state has given the district until the end of July to revise its deficit elimination plan.

"I would challenge anyone to say that there is a fix around the corner. And like I said earlier, we didn't get into this problem overnight and it's going to take some time to get through it," said board president Isaiah Oliver.

The more time passes, the more concern some parents have about the future of the Flint School District.

"I'm a product of Flint schools. My kids are in Flint schools. But unfortunately, I just don't know how they're able to maintain budget wise and maintain education. It just doesn't work out to me," said Demps.

The board also passed next year's budget.  In it, there is an expected surplus of more than $3 million.

Also, on Thursday, in the hope of keeping students from leaving the district, the board has unveiled plans to make a 7th grade academy at Southwestern High School.

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