School Districts Wonder How They'll Cope With Huge Cuts

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"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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  • by Carl Location: Lansing on Apr 27, 2007 at 09:41 AM
    $ 425,000 for five teachers = $80,000 per teacher . Thats an awful lot for wage and benefits for a nine month job. Why not put some adminstrators back in the classroom. There is not a need for more than one principal per school not three or four assistant as well.
  • by Robert Location: Lansing on Apr 27, 2007 at 08:43 AM
    Two choices; increase revenues or cut services. The number of I-pods, cell phones and other electronic devices purchased for school aged children today clearly indicates that many citizens have discretionary income that could be used to benefit the community. What are our priorities?
  • by Brad Location: Okemos on Apr 27, 2007 at 05:21 AM
    It is high time the districts live within their means and stop these bond proposals to cover their irresponsible spending habits. I'm not really sure how replacing turf on football fields, rebuilding softball diamonds, and $1000 ergonomic chairs and desks enhance our children’s educations. Those expenses should and MUST take a backseat to educational necessities such as books and qualified teachers. When times are good then go ahead and splurge a bit but bank part of it for another rainy day which undoubtedly will occur again.
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