Lansing Schools Budget Cuts Special Ed, Teachers, Public Safety

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In a district that continues to lose students, even the teachers union president agrees that staff numbers must shrink.

"We're dealing with it across all labor groups--administration... support staff...bus drivers, the whole nine yards," Jerry Swartz, president of LSEA says.

After a hard fought contract battle this winter, Swartz says its prudent that as many as 70 teachers could be laid off under the new 2007-2008 budget.

It's unlikely that many will actually be let go because of attrition and teachers who may leave voluntarily.

Over the objection of many, the district will be trimming special ed programs as well. Federal and state law requires the district help more students get back in mainstream education, which means the special ed program should also shrink.

The tough questions of cuts leads back to the big question facing the district--how to stop parents and their students from leaving?

"We have to deal with perceptions," Lansing School board president Guillermo Lopez says.

"I think people leave on what they hear--not what's really going on," Hugh Clarke, Vice President, explains.

Approximately $90,000 dollars in cuts were made to the public safety department. It's not clear how those cuts would be made. Several board members objected, saying behavior in the buildings is a major reason people are leaving.

Dan Voss said public safety should have been the budget's number one priority.

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