A Michigan school district that says it can't afford to pay its teachers is closed for another day as officials plan to declare a financial emergency.
The Buena Vista School District is in Saginaw County just outside of Saginaw. It canceled classes again for Thursday after doing so for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The school board voted Monday to lay off most employees.
A board meeting is Thursday night. Board President Randy L. Jackson tells MLive.com the board plans to declare a financial emergency.
Students haven't been in school since Friday, since Monday was a scheduled day off due to professional development for teachers.
The school district announced last week that it won't be able to make payroll May 24 because the state has put a hold on its funding.
The district posted the following responses to questions about the budget crisis:
Buena Vista School District and its community of parents and stakeholders has a long tradition of pride and excellence. We pride ourselves on the caring and committed staff with which we are blessed and consider it our highest calling to be entrusted with the care and education of the community’s children.
Recent reductions in state school aid, combined with a severe drop in enrollment have created a situation where the District has not been able to get small enough fast enough. Adding to this problem is the fact that the District must return to the state funds related to the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center which it continued to receive after the program severed ties with the District in 2012. The District brought its receipt of these funds to the attention of the State during a meeting with state officials to discuss a draft of its deficit elimination plan in February. All of this came into focus when the State did not transmit the District’s April state school aid.
Upon noting that state school aid was not received in April as planned, the District made inquiry of the State and was told that state school aid for April, May and June would be withheld to recoup the funds that were mistakenly sent to the District. We remain in contact with officials at the State, the Intermediate School District and our surrounding districts. We have been told by State officials that a prerequisite to continuing dialogue is the District’s completion of a satisfactory deficit elimination plan. We are and have been working diligently to meet this requirement, and appreciate the technical assistance that State officials have provided regarding the deficit elimination plan.
1. Why have almost all staff been laid off?
With very few exceptions, the District has laid off its staff. This step is necessary due to the fact
that the District will not receive state school aid for April, May and June of 2013.
Due to the suddenness of the recoupment and the fact that it involves an embargo of all of the
District’s remaining state school aid for FY 13, which is the source of most of the District’s
revenue, there are no funds from which to draw in order to make payroll.
We brought this situation to the attention of staff just as soon as it could be responsibly
confirmed that there was no way, under current projections, payroll could be met. Although the
decision to undertake the layoffs was a difficult one, we believe the alternative would be grossly
unfair to staff, whom we value.
2. Will health insurance benefits be continued?
In addition to laying off most staff, the District has terminated its benefit plans (including health)
for all staff. As a self-funded district for health insurance purposes, the District has no funds to
use for payment of claims.