BY MARY ANNA TOWLER
A falling tax base and high student needs has a lot of school districts in poor areas struggling. NPR’s All Things Considered offered a look yesterday at what has resulted in one of those districts.
When the district in Muskegon Heights, Michigan – one of that state’s poorest – continued to have less money than it needed to operate, the school board voted to turn over the district’s operations to the state. The state, in turn, handed control of the district to an emergency manager – who brought in Mosaica Education Inc., a for-profit charter-school company, to run the entire district.
This will be an interesting experiment. The district has been running a deficit of $12 million, the NPR report says. If the district didn’t have enough money to operate the schools, will the charter-school company?
Mosaica plans to put some of its own money into the district at the beginning, but it’s not a charity. Mosaica will want to recoup its investment and then do what the school district hasn’t been able to: provide a good education for Muskegon Heights’ children without spending more than the district gets in state, federal, and local tax revenue.