School Districts Wonder How They'll Cope With Huge Cuts

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"A $125 potential reduction on April 26, with our fiscal year two months, away is very discouraging and demoralizing," says East Lansing superintendent David Chapin.

Add debilitating to the mix, and you've got a pretty clear picture of how schools are reacting to the possible cuts in per pupil funding. Chapin says his district stands to lose $425,000 this year.

"$425,000 is roughly five new teachers, smaller class sizes for first-grade classes, a new bus," he lists. "This is an embarrassing time for our state."

And with the imminent threat of funding cuts, some school districts like Okemos may have no other option than to adopt a bond they rejected last year.

"Since [the cuts] could conceivably put a half-million dollar hole into the budget next year, I hope people realize the absolute importance of getting out and voting May 8," says Terry Hughes, who is working on the an Okemos millage committee.

May 8 is when Okemos will vote on a $6.8 million technology bond. It would cost homeowners there around a $140 a year.

Hughes says with schools losing so much per pupil funding, it's important they get money from voters for other needs.

"$6.8 million over five years would work in replacing obselete technology," says Hughes.

But with no bond in East Lansing's near future, Chapin feels stuck.

"We have very limited possibilities," he says.

But Okemos sees hope, even on a day some are calling hopeless for education in Michigan.

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