Lansing Teachers Face Layoffs

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

The district and union agree, the new contract sets Lansing schools on a path to solvency, but no doubt, teachers will bear the cost.

"It means longer days for me, it means a lot more time at home because it's not possible to get everything done during the day now, so it's going to be that much more that's not going to happen during the school day," said Lexa Bell, a teacher at Averill Elementary School

Starting the next school year, teachers like Bell won't have time during the day to plan for lessons. Instead, they'll use the time to take on teaching music, art and P.E.

"We kind of wanted to redesign the arts, music and P.E. program to bring in community expertise. There are relationships with Wharton, Michigan State University and the arts community which is very vibrant here in Lansing," said Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

However, some teachers who specialize in those areas could lose their jobs. Currently, they step in for classroom teachers during their planning time. The union says taking that time out of a day affects jobs at all levels.

"We're going to see a 20% reduction at our secondary schools as teachers pick up and teach during their planning time," said Patti Seidel, president of the Lansing School Education Association.

According to Seidel, without these concessions, everyone may have to take a pay cut. As for the changes, Bell feels confident they can make it work.

"I'm very fortunate that I have dual certification. I'm certified in music and I've already been talking to the other second grade teachers in my building."

Teachers who lose their planning time will be compensated with a $5000 stipend. The superintendent said she's not sure how many layoffs there will be until she knows how many teachers are already planning to retire.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2013 at 06:21 AM
    It would be nice if you would have interviewed the many that know this won't work out. Students deserve better than this and should be offered the opportunity of a well-rounded education. Teachers deserve to be able to work at school and not at home in order to prepare and plan for students. Their own families will begin to suffer and lose out. Our society deserves to have a generation raised with quality fine arts programs taught with expertise in our schools. When will the people of Michigan truly stand up and tell our legislators that the continued decimation of our public schools will not be tolerated? Teachers and educational employees can't work for free or entry level wages, and quality programs do take a lot of money. Who will fund the Wharton and other community organizations who are supposedly going to help out? They can't run for free either and shouldn't be expected to give away funds they need for other reasons to help run a school district program that should be properly funded by the people of Michigan. This is not just a Lansing School District issue. The lack of appropriate funding is adversely affecting all schools in Michigan. The attacks on our public schools need to stop.
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