HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Although the Highland Park school district had the highest level of per pupil spending in the state, new reports show students were forced to attend class in hazardous conditions.
In 2010-11, the district spent $19,634 per student – well over a quarter of a million dollars per classroom, reports Capitol Confidential. Yet, district schools had mice in the classrooms, holes in the walls and ceilings, and bathrooms beyond repair.
“It was terrible,” said Delshon, a senior at Highland Park High School. “We had to worry if something was going to crawl on us; worry if the ceiling was going to fall in on us.
“You’d just do your work and you’d just see something just run across.”
The Highland Park school district was declared a financial emergency in 2012 after years of corruption, mismanagement, and failing academics.
The district will reopen in the fall as a charter district. The Leona Group, the charter management company that is running the schools, told the news site they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and clean and fix up the facilities.
Still, there is more work to be done.
Toilet bowls are cracked and stained brown, ceiling tiles are missing in many of the buildings, and one hallway in the high school is partially caved in.
“This stuff didn’t just get like this. It’s been like this,” Valecia Ashford, a teacher who has been with the district for 37 years, told the news site.
So where did all that money go?
“The previous teachers’ contract shows that the district paid 100 percent of health care premiums while granting special favors for the union, like handing over district financial information, setting up an automatic payroll deduction for dues, and allowed the local president to spend half of his or her time working exclusively on union business,” reports the news site.
Just further proof that America’s public schools have a spending problem, not a funding problem.