3 Tips for Supt. Flanagan’s Crackdown On Failing Schools

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It was very refreshing to read Superintendent Mike Flanagan say “We are getting serious about quality choices for Michigan students” the other day in the newspaper.  Welcome to the revolution, Mr. Superintendent!!

Since he sometimes looks to GLEP for advice (and sometimes he doesn’t), we thought we’d respond to his crackdown on poor quality schools with the following recommended initial steps:

  1. Any focus on quality academics should start by suspending operations for MDE’s own list of the 20 “worst of the worst” schools (each in the bottom 5% for all four years);
  2. Any focus on financial responsibility should start by suspending operations of the 15 districts running the largest illegal deficits (see list below); and
  3. Flanagan should endorse passage of HB 5112, which creates a level playing field of school accountability for ALL public schools, including closure of the poorest performing schools.

According to Michigan Public Radio, 49 of Michigan’s 805 school districts were running (illegal) deficits as of May 2013.  Listed below are the fifteen school districts with the largest projected budget deficits as a percentage of their expected overall revenue:

    1. School District of the City of Inkster – $15.9 million deficit – 60.77% of revenue
    2. Highland Park City Schools – $5.3 million deficit – 53.60% of revenue
    3. Benton Harbor Area Schools – $12.8 million deficit – 43.11% of projected revenue
    4. Westwood Community School District – $6.1 million deficit –24.66% of revenue
    5. Ypsilanti Public Schools – $9.2 million deficit – 24.14% of revenue
    6. East Detroit Public Schools – $6.0 million deficit – 16.32% of revenue
    7. Willow Run Community Schools – $2.9 million deficit – 15.34% of revenue
    8. Mt. Clemens Community Schools – $2.9 million deficit – 15.15% of revenue
    9. Bridgeport Spaulding School District – $2 million deficit – 14.93% of revenue
    10. Taylor School District – $9.3 million deficit – 14.84% of revenue
    11. Brighton Area Schools – $8.6 million deficit – 14.33% of revenue
    12. HEART Academy – $224,471 deficit – 13.35% of revenue
    13. Perry Public Schools – $1.5 million deficit – 13.12% of revenue
    14. Redford Union Schools – $3.3 million deficit – 12.20% of revenue
    15. Clintondale Community Schools – $3.7 million deficit – 12.15 % of revenue

Click here for the Michigan Public Radio list of deficit districts in PDF format.