Officials: Ecorse Public Schools eliminates deficit
After a series of cost-cutting moves in the last two years, Ecorse Public Schools has eliminated its deficit, officials there announced Monday.
In June 2013, the district was $1.8 million in the red, according to a Michigan Department of Education report. As of this month, the fund balance is about $400,000, Superintendent Thomas Parker said.
Ecorse was one of 18 districts across the state — including Brighton, East Detroit, New Haven, Hamtramck and Taylor — expected to eliminate their deficits by June 30, state school Superintendent Mike Flanagan told state lawmakers this month.
Declining enrollment was among the factors that contributed to Ecorse’s previous shortfall, Parker said. “We had dipped to about 980 when I started two years ago.”
Accompanying that were other issues across the four-school district, which led to measures such as pay cuts for teachers, administrators and support staff as well as concessions from maintenance/custodial workers, Parker added.
“My board had some tough conversations about efficiency as it relates to staffing as well as resource usage in our buildings,” he said before the panel adopted the budget for the next academic year during a scheduled meeting Monday night. “We made some strategic decisions on how to better utilize our resources.”
The efforts also coincided with two schools in the district joining 19 low-performing ones across Michigan receiving up to $114 million in federal funding to help enhance student achievement over three years, state education officials announced last fall.
Today, Ecorse is better positioned to offer more to its estimated 1,040 students, Parker said.
Among upcoming initiatives: a summer enrichment program; a tech-based “geek squad academy” with help from Best Buy; and a program to provide tablet computers to students in kindergarten through fifth grade as well as laptops for those in sixth through 12th grades, he said. “We’re going to continue the work to ensure we better serve our community at our core and provide our students with every possible opportunity they need to excel.”