The state of Michigan has some "grave concerns" about the financial health of the Benton Harbor Area Schools. The Treasury Department is not willing to give the district the $4 million emergency loan it's requested, and now the Michigan Department of Education wants that amount of money to come from cuts in the deficit reduction plan. Additionally, Treasury wants a plan soon for eliminating the entire $16 million deficit in five years. The state is threatening to not give Benton Harbor Area Schools its state aid in October if they can't come up with the savings by the middle of next month, which would mean the district would not be able to make payroll. Superintendent Leonard Seawood is concerned about the timeline from the state, as the student count day isn't until October 2nd and an audit of the district's finances isn't coming in until mid-November. He adds there are a few ways to come up with the savings, including eliminating bus service after the 2014-15 school year and cutting custodial and maintenance budgets in half. Another way would be to increase enrollment, but BHAS has been losing students every year for several years.
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