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Inkster Schools could be dissolved after missing deadline

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Sign outside Inkster Public Schools Administration Building Sign outside Inkster Public Schools Administration Building
INKSTER, Mich. (WJBK) -

Inkster Public Schools has missed a deadline to submit financial information to the state. Now the district could be dissolved.

Inkster's Board of Education met in special session Monday in a last ditch and last minute effort to try and save the financially troubled district.

Under a new state law, Inkster Schools can be dissolved. They were given until 5 p.m. Monday to show the state they have a loan to get through the school year and a favorable opinion from their accounting firm.

"CPAs are prohibited from rendering any kind of opinion on solvency. Therefore we cannot provide the letter the state is looking for," said Inkster Schools Business Manager Kelly Howey.

"We have no official written communication from Comerica. However, in our ongoing talks with the bank, it was based on the assumption that the state would approve the deficit elimination plan that they've had in their possession since January, and without that approval, the bank could not make a commitment to the district."

The district faces a $15 million deficit. They submitted a deficit elimination plan that the state admitted could work, but state officials said they lacked confidence in the district's leadership.

Late Monday afternoon, Inkster Schools Superintendent Mischa Bashir read a statement explaining why they could not give the state what it wanted. She said it is the state's fault for not approving the deficit elimination plan. She also called the criteria for avoiding a shutdown impractical, saying the state has not given the district a viable alternative to closing its doors.

We asked School Board Member Cornelius James whether he is concerned the district will be dissolved. He said, "We're going to see what happens here."

The state has released a statement saying the dissolution process will move forward. The next step is for the intermediate school district to weigh in.

If the district is dissolved, we were told students will go to neighboring districts such as Romulus, Taylor or Wayne-Westland. Those details have yet to be worked out, and school officials are still hoping for one last meeting with the state.

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The following is the statement from the Michigan Department of Treasury in its entirety:

Neither Inkster Public Schools nor the Buena Vista School District submitted documentation
necessary to avoid disorganization and dissolution under Public Act (PA) 96 of 2013 by today's
5:00 p.m. (EST) deadline. Therefore, the dissolution process, pursuant to PA 96 will move
forward.

Last week, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Treasurer Andy Dillon determined that the Buena Vista and Inkster School Districts were no longer financially viable and were unable to educate students, pursuant to Public Act 96. However, the Superintendent and Treasurer agreed to give officials from both districts until 5:00 p.m. today (July 22, 2013) to provide documentation showing they have access to cash and/or a commitment letter from a lending institution as well as an opinion letter from their respective accounting/audit firm, indicating the cash would allow for the district to remain open through the end of the next school year.

Given that neither district provided the documentation requested, the joint determination that
both districts met all factors required under PA 96 remains in effect and the disorganization and
dissolution process will move forward. Under PA 96, the joint determination reached last week
will be forwarded to each district's respective Intermediate School District (ISD). By law, the
ISD would then declare the District dissolved and immediately order attachment of the territory
of the Districts, in whole or in part, to one or more other school districts within the respective
Intermediate School district and ensure that students from those dissolved districts have viable
schools to attend on September 3, 2013.

For more information on Public Act 96 of 2013, visit www.michiganlegislature.org and click on
the Public Acts tab.

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