School district faces tough financial choices

By Charles Sercombe

Hamtramck’s public schools may be heading into a worse financial crisis.

Superintendent Tom Niczay said it appears that the district lost over 150 students, which will result in a $1 million budget cut in the coming year. That news came just as the state received notice that the federal government will give the state’s public schools $315 million in stimulus funds.

Hamtramck is in line to receive $600,000, Niczay said, which is obviously not enough to offset the loss in student funding. The federal money is be used to prevent teacher layoffs.

Layoffs may have to happen anyway, a source told The Review. That’s because the district had to pay out $400,000 in an early staff retirement plan the state offered. Unfortunately, the state will not reimburse the district for its upfront cost to those who took advantage of the early retirement deal.

Our source, who asked not to be identified, said this sudden draining of money has left the district nearly broke and may force it to seek a $1 million loan just to meet paydays.

Getting a loan may prove tricky since the district already borrowed $2 million last year.

As a result of the recent turn of events, the district may be forced to take several actions. Just what might be included on the chopping block was not known at press time.

The School Board will likely have to make some hard decisions in its regular October meeting, or perhaps even convene before then in a special meeting.

Earlier this year the district adapted a five-year plan to eliminate a $2.8 million budget deficit. It is not known how the current financial downfall will affect that plan.

One Response to School district faces tough financial choices

  1. Jay Townsend

    October 8, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Are you surprised? Unions are killing the public schools in this city. Ive worked for that city even had children of mine go to the schools(Elementary and High School). The teachers union fights for their teachers but half of the teachers do nothing to teach the kids and those kids repeat grades or move to another district. Thomas Niczay (Ha!) this guy is a joke who sides for teachers who give him a little push back when things aren’t right. And the board never rotates and I know that they are voted in but its pathetic!!! With no real limitations on a school board and the same people on there for a great number of years… It is no surprise that the public schools are in that disarray. IT’S CALLED ADAPT TO THE TIMES.

    A. Set a limitation to serve on the board 3 years on and a year off until you can be eligible for reserving.

    B. Get a Superintendent that has no ties to the current Employees and has a proven track record.

    I’m all for promoting from within but just because you work somewhere doesn’t mean you can do the job at the top!

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