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Answer Sheet
Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 01/13/2012

Another ailing school district may be forced to close

Correction: An earlier version of this said the Highland Park School District was in Illinois. It is in Michigan and not the Highland Park in Illinois.

A Michigan newspaper reports that a cash infusion of $188,000 from the state is the only reason that the Highland Park School District can meet its payroll today.

The Detroit Free Press also reported that in addition to providing the money, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said he was appointing an emergency manager to oversee the long-troubled district in Highland Park, where Ford Motor Co.’s flagship factory once operated.

This news follows the pathetic story of Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania, which is staying open because unionized teachers and staff have agreed to work for free.

Pennsylvania officials have refused to help the district, where several thousand students still attend the public schools in Chester Upland even though they don’t know if they will actually be able to finish the school year.

The Highland Park district has had financial troubles for years, and state and district officials are blaming each other. The same blame game has occurred in Pennsylvania regarding Chester Upland.

The money from the state will give Highland Park a temporary reprieve — it will last until February — but what happens after that is still in question. In fact, the local ABC news station reported that the state treasurer has said he doesn’t know if the district can stay open until the end of this school year.

While the Education Department and private foundations give away hundreds of millions of dollars for experiments with teacher evaluation, charter schools and other debatable initiatives, traditional public schools are, in some places, on the verge of being shut down.

If someone sees the sense in this, please let me know.

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