Parents Break Silence On Budget

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Public school isn't always an easy place for autistic teenagers like 17-year-old Nicholas Krishnan.

"As you can tell, he's a student with profound disabilities," his mom, Shari, tells us. "But I don't think any place could've done better with our boy."

Shari Krishnan raves about their district near Detroit. But the raves turn into rants when she starts talking about the future of her son's school.

"I'm very fearful there's a political game being played on the backs of children. It isn't just playing chicken; it's playing Russian roulette with their futures," she says.

You see, Shari is scared for her son as well as the other children who will be in Michigan public schools long after he graduates. She's in Lansing Monday for an emergency state school board meeting, and she's speaking out against the nearly $300 in per-pupil cuts facing K-12 education.

"We talk about education being the future of Michigan. Are we willing to put it all at risk for politics? I think it's disgusting," Shari says.

John Ellsworth is also standing up for his little boy-- but for a different reason.

"I'm here for my son," he says.

"He's four years old. Next year he starts K-12 education," which he says is funded disproportionately lower in Grand Ledge than in wealthier districts. Ellsworth wants that changed-- among other things-- saying it could help save the state money.

"It may be time to pay the piper. If we equalize funding for two-thirds of our students..." he says we'll save bundles.

The State Board of Education Monday approved unanimously a resolution that recommends finding new revenue to salvage education spending cuts, and members also are hoping to make a long-term plan that avoids crises like these in the future.

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  • by teacher on Oct 27, 2009 at 04:59 PM
    This argument about "summers off" has got to stop. My summer off consists of revising and researching lessons, and going to college classes at my own expense. I also calculated that I work 1920 hours in a school year, the average "normal" employee works 2000 hours in a 50 week work year.
  • by Jess Location: Lansing on Oct 27, 2009 at 02:26 PM
    As a teacher, would you like to know what I did with my so-called "summer off"? I took classes all summer, to fulfill Michigan teaching requirements. Not only did I not have the option of working, but I'm in the hole another few grand. Before you start making assumptions about teachers, you really need to get the facts straight. This issue is not about teachers, however, it is about kids. A good education costs money, but everyone wants to pass the buck for someone else to pay. It's easy to blame others, it's much more difficult to take some of the responsibility upon yourself to better the future for the children in our country.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM
    Teachers are paid very well considering they have the summer off. If you want to make more money then work all year like the rest of us. The bottom line is that most people can not afford to pay higher taxes right now and the state is broke.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 09:06 AM
    I have been teaching for ten years and have had a Master's degree for four years. I still make less than other's I know who don't even have a GED! Tell me to take a pay cut? Tell the kids to "suck it up?" You've got it backwards. We all need to ban together and approach the government as a unified public body demanding that more appropriate choices be made for our future. Shortchanging education is just shortchanging kids. That's not a solution in my book.
  • by Jessica Location: Jackson on Oct 27, 2009 at 07:16 AM
    Many people forget that teachers have 4 year college degrees and are required to pay for 18 credits of a masters degree out of pocket. My first year of teaching (4 years ago), I had to pay on existing college loans and my take home pay equaled out to about $10/hour. I probably could have gotten a higher paying job (or equivalent pay) without a degree. Do you really want to have a conversation about teachers being overpaid? We talk about everyone having the right to a "free education" K-12, but the bottom line is that somebody has to pay for it. I know I want the best education possible for my kids, and if my property taxes have to go up a little, so be it. Schools need funding to give our children a good education and as a country we have to decide where our priorities lie.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 07:01 AM
    Unions are doing just like any thing that says union attached to it.How do many think all the auto workers felt when their jobs weren't saved.How many incomes got changed by a pink slip.Had a life,then in a short time no life,NO job,then unemployment,the that awful word welfare was the only thing left.Many have held their heads in shame having to ask for help.Mich is no longer booming and has came to the big crash.Schools are not the only thing being cut,or the only thing that needs funded.All mad please tell the gov what to do,see where it gets you.You can write out big checks to fund schools,if you choose.Maybe your money will reach schools,probably not.Take school tax off peoples property tax.Tax things not needed to gain tax money.Alcohol, bottled water,tickets for events,all that kind of stuff.Let people at least have needed items.Lower utilities and bring down what many don't have because of costs.Get rid of greed.Your right Marc.To many things are spinning out of control.No jobs
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Oct 27, 2009 at 04:30 AM
    I agree with Marc. The only thing the school board(s) is/are doing is attempting to keep the overpaid teachers and administrators on the job at all costs. The money tree has been picked dry, So tell the teachers (and their unions) to either take a 40% reduction in pay and benefits, or take a hike. No new money from sneaky back door tax tactics. Suck it up and take the hit like all other non gevernment employe have had to do! Thank you
  • by Marc Location: Lansing on Oct 27, 2009 at 01:18 AM
    Look stop complaining and pull the bunch out of your panties and have a bake sale or something but stop reaching up my property skirt for more money for schools that should be doing more with half of what they already get. in other words suck it up like the rest of us.
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