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Flanagan Approval Will Release State Funds to Open Buena Vista Schools for Remainder of Year

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

LANSING - State Superintendent Mike Flanagan today approved the release of state school aid funds to the Saginaw Buena Vista school district, allowing students in the district to return to their normal classrooms for the reminder of the school year.

The Buena Vista school board on Tuesday adopted a viable Deficit Elimination Plan (DEP) that Flanagan was able to agree with and paves the way for the district to re-open its doors.

"Now, I encourage the local school board, administration, and staff to get the schools open as soon as possible for the students," Flanagan said.

Flanagan's approval today will put an end to any discussion of a "Plan B" that was developed earlier in the week to have Buena Vista students learn in an alternate setting, using federal and at-risk funds. The so-called Enhancement Skills Camp would have focused instruction on math, reading, and writing for students, if the district had not been able to adopt an approvable Deficit Elimination Plan.

"The skills camp always was a back-up plan," Flanagan said. "Our first priority was to re-open the traditional classroom programs, but if the local school board hadn't adopted an approvable DEP, we wanted to still find ways to provide instruction to the students. That back-up plan won't be needed now."

Buena Vista schools will continue to be open for students to receive free school meals, with the assistance from the neighboring Saginaw City Schools. Buena Vista schools will contact parents and local media outlets to promote the times and locations for the meals. Today's meal will be available at Buena Vista High School from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will release state aid funds to Buena Vista beginning with the regularly-scheduled state aid payment date on May 20. That will allow the district to meet its May 24th payroll.

A special condition that Flanagan put on his approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan is that MDE will manage the release of the state aid funds due to the district for May, June, and July, so as to allow Buena Vista to meet its payroll and other essential services. MDE and the district are working closely together to determine what those amounts will be.