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Highland Park Schools’ Emergency Manager To Meet With Parents

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HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) - The man who’s in charge of straightening out the finances of the struggling Highland Park school district will begin meeting with parents Tuesday.

As WWJ City Beat Reporter Vicki Thomas reports, newly appointed emergency manager Jack Martin is hoping to ease parents concerns about a number of issues.

Martin said the district’s Barber Focus School will close, it’s just a matter of when, and he’s looking into the cost of the move and securing the building once it’s shut down. He said the students there will be moved to a neighboring K-8 school.

“And with their same teachers, so the move should be pretty seamless for the children. But there are some parents, because they’ve had multiple generations that have attended that school, you know, there’s a lot of sentimentality there, which I totally understand,” said Martin.

But some parents say they haven’t heard anything about the planned closure of the school.

Alicia Gardner, whose two children attend the school, said closing the school in the middle of the school year just doesn’t make sense to her.

“Wait until the end of the school year because it’s hard for us parents trying to find our kids another school to go to,” said Gardner.

The district has a ballooning deficit of around $11 million and enrollment has dropped from 3,6000 students in 2008 to just under 1,000 today.

Some fought the idea of an emergency financial manager when it was first proposed, but Governor Rick Snyder intervened, saying the district faced the threat of closure without a manager. He wrote a letter to all parents in the district explaining the situation.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

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