Buena Vista slated to reopen by week’s end

Passage of a last-minute deficit elimination plan and coordination with the state should allow the Buena Vista School District to reopen as early as Friday, nearly two weeks after the school board shuttered the district’s doors.

The Buena Vista School Board approved a deficit elimination plan Tuesday. State officials gave their sign-off Wednesday.

Until recently, the school district had been receiving and spending state funds meant for a juvenile justice education program, despite the program’s departure from the district last year. Upon finally realizing the error, state officials decided to punish students and school employees for its and the district’s financial mismanagement, and immediately stopped sending school aid payments for April, May and June to make up for the overpayment.

Already saddled with declining state aid due to Gov. Rick Snyder’s $1 billion in cuts to K-12 funding, the district announced May 3 that it no longer had the funds to finish the school year.

For the sake of their students, Buena Vista teachers voted May 6 to work without the promise of a paycheck until officials could find a solution, but the Buena Vista Board of Education voted later that day to simply lay off the district’s 27 teachers. The district then cancelled classes indefinitely.