Schools to get money back from state

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – Dearborn Public Schools might receive $1.8 million back from the state that was cut due to budget limitations.

As part of the Michigan Department of Education Financial Best Practices Initiative, which allows for additional funding for schools that meet four out of five criteria set up by MDE to determine which districts have the best financial practices, the district will receive about $1.8 million from the state, or $100 per student.

District spokesman David Mustonen said the money will allow some of the 43 teachers who were laid off in June to come back and employees who took pay cuts will see a “percentage” returned to their paychecks.

“It’s better than nothing,” he said. “We’re not getting an increase in money. It’s restoring a part of what was taken.

He said the district lost about $8.5 million in cuts from the state from the 2010-11 to the 2011-12 school year and the $100 per student will restore only a small portion of that loss. He said the money could start coming in as soon as October.

“It comes in a monthly payment,” he said. “We’re hoping that it will be in (October).”

In a bill passed in May, the state allocated $154 million for the 2011-12 school year for districts statewide if they met the requirements to be listed as a Best Practices district, including issuing a report card to parents that shows the district’s efforts to manage finances, seeking competitive bids on non-instructional services including maintenance, charging employees at least 10 percent of healthcare costs, acting as the policy holder for medical benefit plans and implementing consolidation plans.

According to published reports, the district met all requirements except for the employee-paid healthcare costs.

Mustonen said he does not know if the program will continue beyond this school year, but he said if the opportunity is there, the district will keep applying.

“If it keeps going, we will meet the requirements,” he said. “It all depends on how the wheels of motion move.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at