The Michigan-appointed emergency manager of Highland Park Schools has converted the troubled suburban Detroit district into a charter-operated one, and hired a private firm to run the schools starting in the fall.

Emergency manager Joyce Parker said last week she tapped the Leona Group LLC, which runs 60 charter schools across five states, to take over the district. Nearly half of the district's students come from Detroit.

The move comes eight months after Gov. Rick Snyder declared the district to be in a state of financial emergency and appointed an emergency manager.

In March, the district officially ran out of cash, and lawmakers crafted legislation signed by Snyder that allowed another school district to take it over. Detroit Public Schools took it over for several months.

The move involved assembling a new board under the charter control. Members of the old board vowed to file a lawsuit.

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