WXYZ ABC 7 reports that after Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette ruled that meetings by a state-appointed financial review team violated the Michigan’s open meetings act, Highland Park Schools emergency manager Jack Martin is stepping aside. His resignation returns decision-making responsibilities to the district’s superintendent and school board. The 10-member financial review team planned to meet in an open meeting to discuss the financial situation in Highland Park Schools.
The state says the district may be so short on cash, however, that they may not be able to make the week’s payroll obligations. This is so despite a $4 million hardship loan and two advancements of State Aid Payments. The state is working towards completing an operating agreement with either another district or a charter operator that will help students that want to remain in the district.
Governor Snyder is also urging the Legislature to consider a bill that will offer students who wish to leave the district the opportunity to do so. “We will not fail the children of Highland Park,” Snyder said. “They deserve a quality education so they can take advantage of the many opportunities that await them. The students, parents, and residents of Highland Park deserve better and doing nothing is not an option.”
Source: WXYZ ABC 7, 2/21/12, By Staff
[Editor's Note: The Highland Park situation presents another example of how opponents to a policy, in this case a state takeover, were able to use the state's open meetings law to affect change even without addressing the merits of their objections. In February 2012 Legal Clips summarized an article in the Billings Gazette reporting that members of the Helena School Board had approved terms of a settlement agreement regarding a lawsuit filed by opponents of the school district’s controversial health curriculum. The group alleged various open-meeting violations and violations of the requirements to provide public records in connection with the passage of the health enhancement curriculum.]