Suttons Bay Public Schools will ask a local Indian tribe to fill a budget gap for this year. The district anticipates a shortfall of about $400,000. Superintendent Mike Murray will speak with leaders of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians tomorrow. Almost a third of the students in Suttons Bay are members of the tribe.
Murray says Suttons Bay is transitioning to more of a cyber school model. The district in Leelanau County even has a growing number of high school students downstate that take classes online from Jackson. But Murray says the school will receive little money for more than 30 of those students until next year. That's one reason they have a cash flow problem this year even though they are confident about the future.
"We're going to emerge from this, we think, as one of the stronger schools in the next ten years in the state."
The amount being asked for from the Grand Traverse Band is a little more than 5 percent of district's budget. Murray says under the current law, if a school finishes the year with a deficit equal to five percent of its budget or more, the state will be more likely to appoint an emergency financial manager.