Pontiac School District budget deficit could lead to payless payday for teachers, staff

Pontiac school leaders work to figure out how to make payroll for staff as district faces large budget deficit

PONTIAC, Mich. -

The Pontiac School District will hold a meeting Tuesday to vote on plan to help bridge the gap and make payroll for its teachers.

The district leaders met Friday night where they were greeted by a large crowd. There was no outcome and they will have to wait until next week to find out if the schools will get money from the state to help avoid a payless payday.

If things stay the way they are right now, the district could be out of money before the school year ends. The question right now: Will Pontiac teachers and staff be paid on payday next Friday?

"Get it together. I want to get paid. You tell me to do it for the kids. Yes, but I've got kids. I've got a house note," said Pontiac teacher Deloris Griffin.

The answer to the question is looming. The district needs $1.1 million to make payroll, but it only has $100,000 in the bank.

Read: Michigan's Buena Vista School District says it can't make payroll

"We have no other sources of revenue that we can draw on. We did that last payroll," said Superintendent Brian Dougherty.

The fix now lies in the hands of state officials. The state has been withholding funding because of financial reporting problems. The state sent a letter to the district outlining poor cash management. It says Pontiac has a "history of supplying the Department with DEP (Deficit Elimination Plan) information that is inaccurate or inconsistent with actual revenues and expenditures at the end of the year."

"We missed that deadline simply because the auditing firm as well as the bookkeeping that was evident in the district, it wasn't and easy process to do a complete audit. Thus the reason it went from a $24 million to a $37 million deficit," said Dougherty.

The superintendent says some of the problems already have been addressed. The district now has five days to respond to the state's recommendations. School ends June 14, but it's uncertain if they will get there.

Principals are trying to keep their students focused.

"He basically told us not to worry about it. He said continue to pass in all of our classes. There is nothing we can do or say," said student Da'Marisa Williams.

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