School Leaders' Heads Spinning From Changes

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"Is my trust in the process eroding? Yes it is," says East Lansing Superintendent Dave Chapin.

Chapin is skeptical Thursday. He and his district have spent the last four days scrambling after the Governor vetoed the so-called "20-J" school funding. That's funding that goes to certain wealthy districts in Michigan, including East Lansing and Waverly. Now, a Senate Fiscal Agency report says the veto might have been for naught.

"I'm not quite certain how to react to the revelation today that there may be money," Chapin says. "It's very troubling."

The memo says the Senate's school aid budget was already balanced even before the governor removed the $51 million dollars in "20-J" funding.

The Governor stands by her decision.

"People should be outraged," says Laingsburg School Board Vice President Maggie Sayles.

Laingsburg isn't one of the "20-J" districts. But school Sayles says Laingsburg is still having a hard time defending itself against some pretty devastating per pupil cuts.

"It's so frustrating. We were required by law to have a budget in July. Today we're continuing to react to something that's still changing," she says. "Whenever we cut money, it will affect the classroom."

She says emergency meetings are happening throughout the month in her district, and Wednesday night they had to eliminate positions equaling up to $50,000.

And it's not over yet.

"At this point it's 'What needs to be cut to move forward?' That's a sad way to move forward," Sayles says.

"I'd like to be able to trust the process we have in place to make significant decisions," Chapin says.

But with conflicting reports-- and conflicting funding-- that's easier said than done.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by local resident on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:03 PM
    Please stop assuming that teachers get elaborate health benefits at no cost. I have taught for 11 years. ONE of those years I got the "Cadillac" old MESSA Supercare at no cost. I now pay nearly $500 a month for much reduced MESSA insurance. Teachers have taken cuts in benefits every year, in order to help our districts save money.
  • by Susan Location: Laansing on Oct 25, 2009 at 08:42 PM
    Every time anyone hears of issues concerning the schools, the answer is focused on lay-offs, down sizing schools, privatizing, or cutting student curriculum (sports, music, art. It is easy to start at the bottom and cut and slice your way about starting at the top and cut out perks, gas allowances, expence bonuses,health benifits, and wages from the administrative and H.R. personal...perhaps they are living above their means in these troubling financial days. Or is that the reason H.R. got a handsome raise to allow for the cuts that will be made in their areas, (off-set them so they are not felt and they can get some not so well earned praise from the public sector). Then from there we can turn to consolidation of smaller school districts ( like haslet and Perry, Farwell and Clare, and Belding and Greenville, to name a few). Right now we need leeadership from our state leaders that will speak to the public, that they too will take cuts in pay and (or) benefits.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Oct 23, 2009 at 03:02 PM
    Anonymous, I think you need a little more 'fancy' learn'. Your post is complete nonsense. Also, anonymous, who wrote Prop A? Prop A was a general election ballot proposal that won approval from the citizens of Michigan. I think people need to have a reality check, THERE IS NO MONEY. Go to your kids school and get the teachers to rduce their pay, pension, and health benefits.
  • by anonymous Location: MI on Oct 23, 2009 at 10:49 AM
    It is about time the playing field was leveled. For many years regular districts have been expected to get the same results as the rich districts with less funding. That is not fair. We all pay the same taxes. It doesn't matter if we live in East Lansing or mason. My child is just as important as a child in East Lansing. Why should he get short changed? Giving one district more than another should never have happened. However, we must remember who wrote Prop. A. I believe her kids went to east lansing Schools. Go figure!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 07:44 AM
    Well many are trying to figure out how to pay bills,how to have enough gas money as prices go back up,How to feed their families and keep their homes at the same time.Just like thousands are trying to find jobs.Applying in other states who hire there own first.Many are with out decent health insurances if any.Homeless roam our streets in search of warmth,food and hope.Charities are running short and food banks.When one student gets 11,000 some less depending on the areas,don't we think this is a little to much?This should of been dealt with a long time ago.Less of making schools fancy and teaching the right ways.How do Amish fund their schools?NO electric bills,only wood stoves,and 1 teacher.packed lunches.No we aren't Amish but get real.Many things we do and think we need to educate kids are a little out of hand.Fancy does not make a kid learn better.Good teachers do that.Then colleges.Lets not go there.Many things need changed.We assume schools need many things they don't.
  • by Carl Location: Holt mi on Oct 23, 2009 at 06:26 AM
    Where is the Tax money coming from to fund much of anything?Is it fair to expect all from nothing left?No more millages.No one can afford.Don't get tricked into that feeling there is no other way.How many more homes can we run people out of.How many more jobs will leave Mi?How many will come in?Will funding happen in the near future.We can't count on anything.So many things should of been seen coming how long ago?No we wait till the last minute.The news for the last few yrs should of given all of this the ideas this would happen.We assume so many things are straining the budget.They keep us in the dark so we end up arguing amoung ourselves.Many programs are not understood by a lot of us.Just like there is a difference in taxing.Tax THINGS,NOT Peoples incomes?It isn't just jenn running this state,Many are at fault for what is going on.It is to the point a bunch of homeless people could run this state better.Money takes care of money.So I expect no real answers.Them first.Ask them.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:15 AM
    It will be alright she is investing in GREEN jobs, no education require for something that doesn't exsist.
  • by School Lesson on Oct 23, 2009 at 04:46 AM
    Don't you realize what is going on here. Politics as usual. Open your eyes people. She can't run for re-election and she is going to get her pension and healthcare when she leaves. By cutting school funding she is hoping to get everyone angry and then they will try to blame all this on the other party come election time. Two things are going to happen, either you'll start feeling sorry enough that you will vote for any millage or tax increase to prop up school funding or you'll see the light and start demanding your representatives stop playing politics. So your choices are, politics as usual or change the budget priorities. By the way you don't see any of the potential politicians that will campaign for governor next year saying anything. That's because their politicians and not concerned citizens. I want to know their ideas and solutions now not 2 months before we vote again. I would like to see the entire state budget and how each segment is funded. Then I'll trim the fat.
  • by Melanie Location: DeWitt on Oct 22, 2009 at 04:03 PM
    She does it again. Sets the requirements for graduating from high school in the clouds, then rips the rug (funding) out from underneath the schools saying deal with it. You can't keep saying you want the students of Michigan to get quality educations and be able to compete in the market place, but provide little to no funding. It's not good business. I agree with others, the budget should be set in July and left alone after that. Schools should know they can count on that funding through the year. You know it would be nice to have a governor who held the lawmakers accountable for NOT having a budget in place. It would be nice to have a governor who didn't go after education, which she professes to support, and low income/poor people programs. I was always told start at the top and work your way down when you have problems like this. Time to start cutting at the Governor's door and work our way down stream.
WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 65659947 -
Gray Television, Inc.