Marshall Advisor and Chronicle (Newspaper) - November 7, 2015, Marshall, MichiganTreasury to help Albion crunch budget numbers
By JOHN HENDLER
At a special meeting of the Albion Public Schools Board of EdiK^itíon on Nov. 3» Boaid members and the more than 100 in anendance heard how the Michigan Department of Treasury will be looking into the school dis-tnct's financial difficulties to help give the district a clear picture on the state of its finances.
Paul Connors, the director of the Office of School Review and Fiscal Accountability from the Michigan Department of Treasury, explained how he manages distressed schools and how Albion came onto Treasury’s radar.
“Last week, I was invited to a meeting at Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and I heard some red flag words,’’ said Connors. “1 heard emei^ncy loan.
declining «irollment, ftscal stress, cnounting operating deficits. ! heard diflftculty providii^ cash flow. I heard possible annexation^ consolidation and dissolution. Those aie all to me
that tri^ered me to make this.decision under state law to move the transition from MDE to Treasury, because Treasuiy has the financial expertise to give this community amwers on its fiscal problems.**
Connors explained how a recent law gave Trcasui^
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Paul ConfK>fS, the director of the Office of SdKX>l Review and Fisc^ Accountability from the Michigan Department of Treasury said Treasury is there to help the school district. *We have a lot of resources and want to work with the community and just give the community some transparency," he said. (Photo by John Hefxiier)
authority in matters like these and read the guidelines for Treasury to step in
“if a district is subject to' rapidly deteriorating finan-■cstal circumstances, persistently do:lining enrolI-mcni w 'Otlio- iiMtkalors 'Of ftfianctal stiess^ likely to result in reoccuiring opmtiig deficit or reoccuiring financial Mress^ wiihhi the dit-' 'trictr
“This w.as^ the statutofy' pfovis:km that I used for the basis of my decisioi],** say Connors. “First of all* te me tell you what diat doesn’t mean., it tkM^n’t .mean an emergency manager. It doesn’t mean 'the toss .k>-'Cai control. What th.at mouis is that Treasury will 'be .involved in finding out what the finances' are of 'this district. Treasury is here' to :betp. We have a lot of resources and want to wort with the community and just give 'the commun'lty some irifispare'iicy....Whal is the financial condition of this .school disiricl? That is my only imcnt.**
Connors added that whN the Board 'UltifiiNdf decides
Many Abion teachers stood in support of annexation with Marshall Public School during teacher Laura Tuo-hy’s comments at the Nov. 3 Board of Education meeting, (Photo by John Hendter)
to do is out of his control.
“I’m just interested in getting the facts as it pertains to the budget,’’ said Connors, who noted that he has heard Albion’s deficit could be anywhere between $1.9 million and $6 million.
Connors said that he will report his findings to Superintendent Jcrri-Lynn Wil-liams-Harpcr once the review has been completed.
During the meeting, WjJ-liams-Harper gave a rundown on the district’s test scores compared to similar districts as Albion over the past four years as well as the district’s falling revenues and rising expenditures over the same period, due to sharp declines in enroll
During her overview, the superintendent also had a Iweakdown of the number of Albion students attending school in other districts, a total exceeding 1 J)00.
“We have kids in Homer, a few in Battle Creek..jsev-eral in Concord.” she said. “We have some in Jackson, Mar Lee, Marshall. Marshall Academy, Olivet. Springport, Parma and the Calhoun ISD, which takes care of many-of our children with special needs.”
Talk of anne.xation, although not on the agenda, came up during the ptJblic comments portion of the meeting.
Continued next page
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