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.


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