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Flint Community Schools facing a $3.7 million deficit

Flint Community Schools has a $3.7 million deficit in its general fund, according to an independent audit of the 2010-2011 fiscal year conducted by the accounting firm Yeo & Yeo.

The district must now submit a deficit elimination plan that will erase the shortfall by the end of 2012-2013 school fiscal year. Flint Community Schools will have 30 days to submit the plan once it receives official notification from the Michigan Department of Education that it is a "deficit district."

The district must also submit to the Michigan Department of Education a monthly monitoring report on revenue and expenditures. Failure to submit either a plan or file monthly monitoring reports would result in the withholding of the district's state aid.

"We've been working diligently for the past three years to get our financial house in order by reducing personnel costs to ease the strain on our budget," said Superintendent Linda Thompson. "Unfortunately, a combination of difficult economic conditions, continued decline in enrollment and increased operating costs has resulted in a shortfall in our general fund budget. Personnel costs account for 80 percent of our budget, and the increases in healthcare and retirement costs have been difficult to absorb along with the other factors."

Thompson said the district will need to make additional changes in operations to eliminate the deficit by the deadline of June 30, 2013. Among the ideas under consideration for the deficit elimination plan are further reductions in personnel costs, possible school closures and privatizing support services. Instructional programs will not be cut, said Thompson.

The Flint Board of Education also must approve any operational changes contained in the deficit elimination plan.

"We've already begun working with the Michigan Department of Education to ensure that our plan will meet the state requirements for deficit reduction," said Thompson.

Although the total deficit is $3.7 million, about $1 million of the shortfall is due to reimbursable funds owed to Flint Community Schools that were not received before Sept. 1. It could not be recorded as revenue for 2010-2011 fiscal year, as required for the audit. The actual operational deficit is closer to $2.7 million, which represents less than 2 percent of the district's $158 million annual budget.

Becoming a deficit district does not place Flint Community Schools under the threat of being taken over by an emergency financial manager. There were 43 districts statewide in deficit in 2010. Only Detroit Public Schools is under the authority of an emergency financial manager.

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)


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