Suttons Bay Public Schools

Flickr / USDA

 

This year, many northern Michigan schools forecast student lunch debt, and without regulation from government to collect those dues, districts have to figure it out on their own.

School lunch debt has increased in recent years to the point where the median amount each district carries is just over $3,000, according to the School Nutrition Association —  a professional organization that monitors lunches at schools.

Aaron Selbig

Experts say the affordable housing problem in Leelanau County has reached “critical mass” – the point where talk must turn to action. A meeting on the subject Thursday morning drew a crowd full of developers and government officials.

Sarah Lucas from Networks Northwest led the meeting. She says that when people think of the term “affordable housing,” they might see an image of a large, run-down apartment building on the edge of town. But in Leelanau County, that public perception is changing.

Paul Wilkinson

The Suttons Bay Township Board unanimously approved a new law Wednesday that’s meant to encourage more affordable housing in the area. The law will make it easier for property owners to build duplexes on their land – and for developers to build new apartment buildings.

Land use planner Kathy Egan said the idea ran into very little resistance.

“That’s all that we’ve heard at the township office level has been support," said Egan. "People are hoping that it results in more housing available for starter homes and for renters.”

Paul Wilkinson

An extremely tight rental housing market in the Grand Traverse area is a big problem that’s getting worse.

Landlords report receiving 30 or more applications for a single rental unit and scams are popping up on Craigslist to take advantage of desperate renters.

The issue has local leaders searching for solutions.

A possible solution in Suttons Bay

Big Mid-Year Cuts For Suttons Bay Schools

Feb 12, 2014
Suttons Bay Schools

 

Just this fall, IPR highlighted Suttons Bay Public Schools as a district that has used creative budgeting, online programs and fundraisers to remain solvent.

But one of those solutions backfired this year.

It's Official! Flotilla2 Breaks World Record

Nov 21, 2013
Linda Stephan / Interlochen Public Radio

The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed Wednesday that Suttons Bay broke a record with Flotilla2. The August 31st event corralled 2,099 canoes and kayaks together on the bay creating a massive, multi-colored flotilla.

Organizer Kate Thornhill estimates the effort raised about $45,000 dollars for student programs in the cash-strapped local school district. She says she now hopes to boost the bottom line with sales of world record memorabilia.

A record number of Michigan schools are struggling to stay in the black and a law put in place this summer allows state officials to dissolve and consolidate small schools with big problems. So far the headlines have been from some of Michigan's more populated counties, but some schools in the north that are paying close attention to changes from Lansing.

A Success Story

Tri-District Virtual School To Compete This Fall

Aug 16, 2013

Three small northern Michigan school districts are teaming up next year to form a new cyber school. Suttons Bay, Manistee and Crawford AuSable all had their own online programs before joining forces for the Great Lakes K12 Virtual School. The consortium will serve all of the northern Lower Peninsula but it will have to compete with two statewide cyber schools.