Snyder writes letter to Highland Park parents

School district faces budget deficit, possible state takeover

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DETROIT - In a letter addressed to Highland Park School District parents, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder tells parents that the school district is in jeopardy of closing next month.

An independent financial review team has been examining the district's finances, which Snyder calls a "dire situation."

"Since the release of the findings of this review team, projections show that HPS is in jeopardy of closing next month without immediate action," Snyder wrote. "On Jan. 13, the district was unable to meet its payroll for teachers and staff. In order to keep the schools open, the state forwarded an emergency advance totaling $188,000."

The letter, dated Jan. 20, cites Highland Park schools' $3 million budget deficit in 2010-11.

The district appealed the team's findings. Snyder calls the district's appeal "unfortunate." He wrote that the appeal "delayed efforts of the state to help fix these financial problems."

"We are not confident that the district can finish the school year without further state intervention and additional assistance," the governor wrote.

The governor wrote the letter's intent was to inform students and parents that the state is concerned about their welfare.

The school district may be appointed an emergency manager despite the appeal from district leaders last week.

Read the letter.

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