The number of Michigan districts in financial distress has declined for the first time in a dozen years, a turnaround to a trend that saw the number grow annually as schools struggled with declining enrollment and increased costs.
State schools Superintendent Brian Whiston said last week that 41 districts and charter schools ended the 2014-15 school year with a deficit, down from 56 the previous year. Twenty districts eliminated their deficit, but five new ones joined the list.
While Whiston called the news promising, some lawmakers focused on the 13 districts that saw an increase in their deficit. One took particular aim at the Detroit schools whose deficit climbed from $169 million at the end of the 2013-14 school year to $216 million at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service lowered the bond ratings of 47 districts, a number Moody’s says is expected to climb during the rest of the fiscal year.
A version of this article appeared in the December 09, 2015 edition of Education Week as Michigan Districts’ Finances Better for Some, Not Others