Saying the children of Buena Vista are the victims of sudden school closings and "have done no wrong," Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today sent a letter to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder calling on him to take the necessary and immediate steps to reopen the Buena Vista schools for the rest of the year.
"As the governor of Michigan, I implore you to use any means necessary to work with the local school district to swiftly reopen the Buena Vista schools," Congressman Kildee said in the letter. "If the local school district is unable to reopen its schools on its own, the state of Michigan must act to ensure that the students in Buena Vista can finish out the remaining days of the school year."
Congressman Kildee's letter comes after an announcement by the Buena Vista School District late Monday night that it laid off all of its teachers and shut the doors to its schools indefinitely because it could not meet its financial obligations. Subsequently, Buena Vista schools were closed yesterday and today, and it's unclear if or when they will reopen.
"Clearly, there has been a failure on behalf of the local school district for some time to manage their financial resources and ensure that children are able to be in the classroom. However, that is not an excuse to simply shut down schools for the rest of the academic year and punish the children in Buena Vista who have done no wrong," Congressman Kildee continued.
"The students of Buena Vista have a constitutional right to an education and the state has a legal responsibility to provide it."
Article VIII, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution requires that the state provide free public elementary and secondary education to Michigan students, stating "the legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law."
On Tuesday, Congressman Kildee said that the Buena Vista School District should have never reached this point, but that no matter who is at fault children ultimately pay the price.
"Through no fault of their own, 432 children in the Buena Vista schools -- my constituents -- are now unable to attend classes and complete their school year. It is wrong that the students, most hurt in this situation, now have to suffer because of the bad decisions made by local school administrators," Congressman Kildee said.