School district's debt taken over by state - WNEM TV 5

School district's debt taken over by state

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A local school district dissolved three years ago, but the debt it acquired has stayed on the books.

Efforts to eliminate that debt appear to be moving in the right direction. The Buena Vista School District left behind nearly $700,000 in unpaid debt when it dissolved in 2013.

"First, being overly sad that our school district was dissolved. It was even harder to have that debt," Christina Dillard said.

The state pulled the plug on the school district in 2013.

Residents thought they would be forced to pay the money back.

"It's about $200 to $300 per household. That could be a little bit harsh and that could be tough. And so this was a big relief," said Dwayne Parker, resident.

State lawmakers announced a plan to wipe out that enormous debt, taking the burden off the backs of Buena Vista residents.

"I'm very happy," Dillard said.

Meanwhile, state and local leaders are glad the debt has been resolved.

"This really has teamwork and it's local and state government. Democrats, Republicans coming together to solve a very real problem in a very good way," Michigan Senator Ken Horn said.

The state will use money from the school aid fund to take care of the outstanding balance. State Rep. Vanessa Guerra said the fund has been in place since 2013.

"Now we're using those same funds that had already been appropriated, but now in a little bit different manner in order to pay off this operating debt," Guerra said.

The debt is the state's problem now. It is unclear what measures lawmakers in Lansing will use to recoup the money. However, Dillard is optimistic the books can be balanced without sacrificing education.

"I hope that everything is resolved and we are responsible as taxpayers to help our students get the education as they all should," Dillard said.

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