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Michigan School District Closed, Can’t Make Payroll

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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP (WWJ/AP) - A shuttered Michigan school district that says it can’t afford to pay its teachers plans to remain closed until further notice.

The update was posted Monday on the website of Buena Vista School District, located near Saginaw. It hasn’t held classes since May 3.

The district laid off teachers and all but three employees May 7. The district has said it wouldn’t be able to make payroll May 24 because the state put a hold on its funding to recoup about $580,000 for a juvenile detention education program the district no longer operates.

Enrollment has declined from more than 900 in 2010 to about 400 this year. The school district has been in debt since 2011, with its deficit reaching $1 million last July, the state said. In addition, the Buena Vista district will owe the state about $2 million in loans in August.

Buena Vista Education Association President Joe Ann Nash, last week, said the district’s 27 teachers had offered to work unpaid for a week in  hopes that the state and the school district could come up with a plan to keep classes in operation.

“While your offer to work this week was the right thing to do, your thanks has been a pink slip from an employer who doesn’t have any money to pay for your continued work – and a cold shoulder from a state that clearly doesn’t value your contributions or the students you serve,” Cook said.

Meanwhile, MLive.com reports Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint says 91 percent of the district’s students get federal food assistance through free and reduced lunch programs, and he wants to ensure the shutdown doesn’t affect their nutrition.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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