The state of Michigan despatched an emergency manager to take over the public schools of Muskegon Heights, Michigan, because the little district with three schools and 1,400 students had run up a deficit of $12 million.

Rather than help the district figure out how to pay off its deficit, the emergency manager decided that it was best to close down the public schools and hand over the students to a for-profit charter company. He selected Mosaica Education of Atlanta.

Now Mosaica has released its budget. Over the next five years, it projects,Mosaica will extract a profit from its charters in Muskegon Heights of at least $8.75 million and possibly up to $11 million, depending on enrollment.

I am puzzled. If Mosaica can make a profit that approximates the size of the deficit, why couldn’t that same amount of money be allocated to pay off the deficit?

Why was it necessary to extinguish the public schools and bring in a for-profit corporation?