Battle Creek Public Schools Superintendent Kim Carter (formerly Kim Parker-Devauld) remains upbeat as students prepare to return to the classroom Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

The challenges for the district have been growing, as enrollment declines have forced the closure of two school buildings, personnel cuts and other belt tightening - the end to which still is not quite in sight.

Lately, press has not been good. A recent, scathing op-ed in the Battle Creek Enquirer from former Battle Creek mayor and Michigan lawmaker Dr. Joe Schwarz decried the closure of Freemont and Urbandale elementaries, calling the move an "appalling example of reflexive short-sightedness."

Schwarz added the district is liable to shrink and, potentially, close if the current trend continues.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dr. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) told WBCK he participated in a meeting with Michigan Department of Treasury officials in August who told him they are watching the BCPS budget with concern. The Treasury is concerned over what was a plan to close three BCPS buildings, though the district eventually chose to close only two.

Add to that the latest M-STEP test scores which show, in some cases, a majority of BCPS students underperforming, and it amounts to an uphill climb as doors open Tuesday.

Carter tells WBCK the M-STEP numbers are a delayed viewpoint; that is, they reflect the challenges at the time the test was taken, not now. Carter said improvements have already been realized via interim measures.

Hear her comments by clicking the player below.

Hear The Richard Piet Show weekday mornings from 5:30-9 on WBCK.

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