67
      Thursday
      84 / 64
      Friday
      86 / 62
      Saturday
      86 / 65

      Buena Vista district looks to charter amid financial troubles

      A preliminary financial review from the state says the district has been operating in the negative for years.

      The preliminary financial report is in and Buena Vista schools are one step closer to a financial emergency.

      ??It??s too much,?? says Frances Hayes, a school board member since 2011. ??The unknown is getting larger and larger,?? she adds.

      Board members are now telling parents they should find another school.

      ??Don??t wait for a decision from us. If you possibly can, you need to find a different school for your child,?? says Hayes.

      The superintendent, Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill, laid out her plan Wednesday night. All students, kindergarten through 12th grade, will relocate to the Phoenix Science and Technology Center with only eight full time teachers on staff.

      Instead of starting back in August, school will start late---once again---due to a lack of cash.

      ??The state is saying they're not going to lend the district any money which means they would not have any money to do payroll, pay vendors, run the school district until way into October,?? says Sue Rutherford, who represents Buena Vista teachers.

      In a last ditch effort the school board is meeting with a charter school company.

      ??This is another option that might revitalize the district,?? says Hayes.

      But for some teachers, it's too little, too late.

      ??Many of them (teachers) are out looking for other employment because they know it's very unlikely that they will be working for Buena Vista School District next year,?? says Rutherford.

      ??We have no idea,?? says Hayes, when asked when school will open again.

      While the school board tries to come up with a plan to move on without state or private control, there's an effort in Lansing to dissolve the district.

      A bill introduced about two weeks ago is being fast tracked to the Michigan House of Representatives and state senate floor.

      The bill gives the state superintendent control over schools with an insufficient deficit elimination plan.

      The state superintendent can then dissolve the district into surrounding districts.

      Meaning, Buena Vista students would go to Carrolton, Bridgeport or Saginaw.

      State representative Stacey Erwin Oakes is not happy with this legislation.

      ??At this point---we're basically---in a matter of days creating a vehicle to dissolve school districts. It's my belief that we must do something but we need to do it an conscious effort that's in the best interest of the children and the community involved,?? says Erwin-Oakes.

      She also says tells NBC25 News, the house of representatives will vote on the bill sometime next week.