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Governor Confirms Highland Park Schools Financial Emergency

Contact: Terry Stanton, (517) 335-2167

January 27, 2012

Former U.S. Department of Education CFO Appointed Emergency Manager  

Gov. Rick Snyder today confirmed his determination that a financial emergency exists in the Highland Park School District and appointed Jack Martin as emergency manager, pursuant to Public Act 4 of 2011, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act. The appointment is effective Jan. 30, 2012. Martin, a certified public accountant, is founder and chairman of Martin, Arrington, Desai & Meyers, P.C., and was chief financial officer for the U.S. Department of Education from January 2002 through December 2005.

“Jack Martin has more than four decades of experience in both the public and private sectors, and has earned tremendous respect throughout his career,” Governor Snyder said. “Given his understanding of the critical importance of education and his background as a C.P.A., I’m confident Mr. Martin is well-suited for this post, and will work quickly and efficiently to address the financial emergency faced by Highland Park schools.”

The Governor’s confirmation that a financial emergency exists follows the receipt of a memo from Deputy State Treasurer Roger Fraser supporting the findings of a 10-member financial review team. Fraser presided over a hearing requested by the Highland Park School Board to dispute the review team’s findings. The financial review team concluded unanimously that the district is experiencing a financial emergency, based on the following findings:

  • The HPS cumulative deficit increased by 51 percent over the past fiscal year, growing from $6.6 million to $11.3 million, according to the district’s fiscal year 2011 financial audit. Expenditures exceeded revenues by $3.8 million in FY 11.
  • The district’s pupil enrollment has decreased by 58 percent since 2006, dropping from 3,179 pupils to 1,331 for FY 2011.  Current estimates show a pupil count of 969.
  • The district has incurred an operating deficit in five of the last six fiscal years.
  • As of Nov. 15, 2011, HPS owed more than $1.7 million in accounts payable, which range from 30 days to 6 months old.

In addition, the district requested an advance of its January state aid payment in order to meet its payroll for teachers and staff. The State agreed to advance $188,000 to keep the schools open and ensure the financial emergency did not immediately further impact the education of Highland Park students.

“Over the last several weeks, I have grown increasingly concerned about the district’s ability to complete the school year without significant assistance and intervention,” Snyder said. “The welfare of the students attending Highland Park schools is our number one priority. We must ensure they have every opportunity to learn and succeed.”

As emergency manager, Mr. Martin will develop and maintain ongoing communications with school district officials, parents of Highland Park students, members of the community, and the media.

Jack Martin Biography
Martin is founder and chairman of Martin, Arrington, Desai & Meyers, P.C. and has 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Martin was chief financial officer for the U.S. Department of Education after serving as CEO and managing director of Jack Martin & Co. Certified Public Accountants and Consultants and acting CEO of Home Federal Savings Bank of Detroit. Martin is a certified public accountant and member of the American Institute and Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. Martin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University and did post-graduate work in labor economics at the University of Minnesota. Martin is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

For more information about PA 4, visit the Local Government Fiscal Health page on the Department of Treasury’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/treasury.

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