School is officially over for all 400 Buena Vista County students, after the school district fired all of its teachers and closed up shop because it ran out of money.
Instead, the district is now offering a voluntary “skills camp” for those who wish to finish out the school year. Teachers will have to interview for positions within the camp, which will last six hours and likely neglect students with special needs.
Despite many concerns from parents, Superintedent Deborah Hunter-Harvill says the students will be fine if the plan comes to fruition. However, Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee says the plan does is not good enough, and penalizes students for a problem they didn’t create.
"The students of Buena Vista have a constitutional right to an education and deserve the same educational opportunities as other Michigan children,” Kildee said, “and that means being in a classroom full-time to complete their school year.”
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Joe Ann Nash, a third grade teacher, voiced her opposition to the camp, saying teachers shouldn’t have to re-interview for their jobs just because the district couldn’t afford payroll.
Rep. Stacey Erwin Oakes also criticized the district’s decision, calling for rainy day funds or taking out a loan to finish the year.
"The path of least resistance would be to put them back in school," she said.
Michigan faced similar financial problems in 1999, when Kalkaska schools closed for two months.