Highland Park teachers have to wait for pay

Author: Jim Kiertzner, Local 4 News Reporter, jkiertzner@wdiv.com
Published On: Feb 24 2012 03:30:35 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 24 2012 05:42:36 PM EST
Highland Park schools
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. -

Local 4 has learned that Highland Park teachers still are not getting paychecks today.  But it may only be a few days of waiting.

Superintendent Edith Hightower tells Local 4 that she’s working on a plan to raise money aside of any additional state aid.  She won’t reveal what it is.

One high school senior tells Local 4 that some teachers have talked about not showing up for work if their payless paydays go on for an extended time while others say they are devoted to the kids no matter what.

Hightower is still running the schools as a seven-day window has to expire to appeal another appointment of an emergency manager by the governor. 

The Highland Park School Board last night voted not to appeal. 

It is expected that the governor will reappoint Jack Martin as emergency manager.  He was forced to step down when a lawsuit challenging state finance review teams was successful in forcing the teams to meet and conduct their business in an open public meeting. 

The review team did that on Wednesday and found a financial emergency exists in the Highland Park Schools.

Enrollment in the district has dropped from 3,100 students in 2006 to barely 1,000 this year.

The state has approved $4 million in emergency aid, but it is tied to students and would follow them if they move to another district. This money can not be used to cover this shortage in teachers’ paychecks.

Hightower says this is the new normal for this and other districts with financial problems and she hopes parents and students maintain their confidence while they work through this mess.