DALLAS – Public finance veteran Kevin Smith started his job as the Highland Park, Mich., school district's emergency manager Friday.

The Michigan school district has been under state oversight since 2012. The district, despite improvements, remains in a state of financial emergency.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced that Smith, who has more than 18 years of experience in public finance, has been named successor emergency manager for the district in the Detroit enclave.

He is replacing Steve Schiller, who was appointed in February. Schiller also serves as the emergency manager for Muskegon Heights School District.

Smith served as chief of staff to three emergency managers for Detroit Public Schools between April 2012 and June 2015.

He is the president and chief executive officer of his own municipal law and public policy firm, Public Solutions Group PLLC, which he established in 2011. Previously, he was a bond attorney and partner at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLLC where he practiced for 13 years.

"Continued management and oversight is necessary as we work together to address the on-going financial emergency in Highland Park School District. Under Emergency Management our role is to provide prudent fiscal management and an efficient provision of services and Kevin's skills and experience are well-aligned for this work," Snyder said in a press release.

An emergency manager was first appointed to the school district in 2012 following a determination that its general fund deficit had ballooned by 51 % from $7.47 million as of June 30, 2010, to $11.25 million a year later.

In April, Schiller reported to state treasurer Nick Khouri that the district expects a negative fund balance of $7.85 million this year with the expectation that it will gradually be reduced to $496,000 by 2028-29.

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