School & District Management

Big Trouble in a Little District

By Christina A. Samuels — June 19, 2008 1 min read
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A leisurely search through Topix led me to a fairly dry article about a Michigan family that is suing a school district over an individualized education dispute. Pretty routine, right?

But this caught my eye: “In its 2007-08 budget, the Northport board originally set aside $5,000 for legal costs for the district. In early December it increased that amount to $280,000 and has budgeted $120,000 for the 2008-09 school year, most of which would be used in an appeal depending on how the administrative law judge rules.”

Wow! Sounds like things are getting a little out of hand, especially since the one-school district’s budget is about $3.5 million in total. So I started reading back in the archives of the delightfully-titled Leelanau Enterprise and learned:

1. The hearing has been going on since late October 2007;
2. The superintendent expected 47 witnesses and 600 pieces of evidence to be presented (though I can’t tell if that happened);
3. The father of the student in question is a member of the school board of the district he’s suing;
4. And the residents of the town are trying to recall him!

That’s got to make for some chilly school board meetings. Pretty exciting stuff for a town of 648 people. I’m riveted. Thank goodness the newspaper archives are free.

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.