Gov. Snyder: Highland Park Schools gets Emergency Manager; neighboring public schools with high Black Student Counts, under state control

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Gov. Rick Snyder has agreed with a financial review team’s recommendation last week that an emergency manager be appointed to the Highland Park School District.

“It is critical that students in the Highland Park School District get the education they need and deserve,” Snyder said to the Detroit Free Press. 

“For that to continue, the Highland Park School District must have stable finances. Through the comprehensive reviews that have been conducted, it is clear the district faces monumental financial challenges.”

Reported first on ROJS News in a October 2011 Press Release from the non-profit organization engaged in a Constitutional Referendum petition to overturn Public Act #4, Michigan Forward, Highland Park Public Schools were under threat of state take over by Gov. Snyder and state Treasurer Andy Dillion (D).


The move makes the two neighboring public schools districts -Detroit and Highland Park Public Schools- both with over 70% of their students made up of African-American descent, under state control. 

A 2009 University of Michigan Affirmative Action Admission lawsuit expert report by Thomas J. Sugrue, cited the lack of diversity in Michigan schools in general and particularity in the Highland Park and Detroit Public School Districts. 

“In Michigan, most children attend school with others like themselves. According to a study prepared for the National School Boards Association, Michigan ranks in the top four states in degree of black/white school segregation, along with New York, Illinois, and New Jersey. During the 1991-92 school year, 58.5 percent of black students in Michigan attended overwhelmingly minority schools (those with student populations that are 90 to 100 percent minority). Nearly four-fifths (79.9 percent) of black students in Michigan attended schools that have majority minority populations.

It is striking that far more students are likely to attend racially integrated schools in the Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) than in Michigan. 40
 

The three-county Detroit area offers a particularly striking example of the lack of diversity in primary and secondary education. A glance at school district enrollment figures for metropolitan Detroit makes clear the lack of diversity in most Detroit area schools (Figure 1). Of the 613,063 students attending public schools in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties, 66.4 percent are white; 29.9 percent are black; 1.7 percent are Hispanic; 0.6 percent are American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut; and 1.9 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander.

These students attend school in 83 separate school districts. In 60 of the 83 Detroit area school districts, the black student population is three percent or less; another 7 districts have black student populations under ten percent. Altogether 90.7 percent of Detroit area white students attend schools in these districts. By contrast, districts with large numbers of blacks have very few whites. Eighty-two percent of Detroit-area blacks attend schools in only three nearly all-black school districts — Detroit, Highland Park, and Inkster.

The area’s Hispanic population is more dispersed, but more than 50 percent of Detroit-area Hispanics attend schools in two predominantly black school districts, Detroit and Pontiac. Asians and American Indians are scattered throughout the area in very small numbers. While they are over represented in some districts (Asians in Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Novi, and West Bloomfield; American Indians in Gibraltar and Hazel Park), there are no sizeable concentrations of either group in the metropolitan area.  

These students attend school in 83 separate school districts. In 60 of the 83 Detroit area school districts, the black student population is three percent or less; another 7 districts have black student populations under ten percent. Altogether 90.7 percent of Detroit area white students attend schools in these districts. By contrast, districts with large numbers of blacks have very few whites. Eighty-two percent of Detroit-area blacks attend schools in only three nearly all-black school districts — Detroit, Highland Park, and Inkster.

The area’s Hispanic population is more dispersed, but more than 50 percent of Detroit-area Hispanics attend schools in two predominantly black school districts, Detroit and Pontiac. Asians and American Indians are scattered throughout the area in very small numbers. While they are over represented in some districts (Asians in Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Novi, and West Bloomfield; American Indians in Gibraltar and Hazel Park), there are no sizeable concentrations of either group in the metropolitan area. 41

Among the reasons Gov. Snyder has declared the district is in a financial emergency:


• The district’s deficit increased 51% from $6.6 million in June 2010 to $11.3 million in June 2011.


• The district has had an operating deficit in five of the last six years.


• The district owed more than $1.7 million in accounts payable as of Nov. 15.


• The district’s enrollment has decreased 58% since 2006.


A hearing has been scheduled for 10AM EST Jan. 17th for the district to respond to the governor’s declaration. The hearing will be before State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.

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