Dozens of school districts running in the red, state says

By IAN K. KULLGREN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Nearly 50 school districts and public charter schools across the state ended last year with a deficit, according to the Department of Education, prompting action from state officials and legislators. Although the state expects many of those districts and schools were expected to eliminate or at least reduce their deficits by the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30, 22 are projected to slip even further into the red. One of the financially direst situations involves Benton Harbor Area Schools, which has a 50 percent deficit — meaning the district is only taking in half the revenue it needs to cover expenses— the result of bleeding enrollment that means less per-pupil state aid. The district’s school board agreed to work with the state on an austerity plan after Gov. Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency in August.