(02/18/14) - A plan to save the Saginaw Public School District millions of
dollars, and ultimately secure important state funding, has been turned into the
Michigan Department of Education.
District leaders and state officials met Tuesday at 2 p.m. That's when Saginaw leaders unveiled their revised Deficit Elimination Plan to the state.
ABC12 was at the Administration Building when school board president Beverly Yanca, teachers' union rep Sue Rutherford and superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins left for the Lansing meeting. They didn't have time to talk on-camera, but Jenkins did tell us they were going to Lansing to "sell" the new plan.
The plan calls for three schools to close, along with two other buildings. Teachers have tentatively agreed to 3 percent pay cuts and the executive staff, including the superintendent, are taking 5 percent pay cuts.
The State tells us it will review the plan this week and determine "whether or not it is approvable". Rutherford says the meeting went "well" and it was "productive".
In the meantime, parents are still digesting everything that's unfolded in the last couple of weeks.
First, they thought Saginaw High was going to close. It has been saved and will become an eighth-twelfth grade building, as will Arthur Hill.
Parents hope the new plan is enough to dig the district out of this $6.1 million hole.
Tammy Porterfield's son goes to Ruben Daniels Middle School, which is scheduled to close under the plan. Next year, as an eighth grader, Tammy plans to send him to Saginaw High.
""The grades going from eighth-twelfth, I don't think that's a good idea," she said. "I mean, as far as the kids itself, I don't think some of the kids are going to be mature enough to go make it to the high school, but what can they do?"
Houghton and Merrill Park elementaries are also closing.
Four of Lacaro Salinas' six kids go to Merrill Park.
"It's just more traveling I guess," Salinas said.
More driving for mom and dad - and some explaining to do for daughter Christina, who is just learning she may have to make new friends - at a new school.
"I started to be sad," she said.
Anchica Moore's son Damon also goes there.
"I have to find another school for my son. It's hard for kids to get adjusted," she said.
Wherever Damon, a third grader, ends up next year, it will be his fourth elementary in four years. Damon went to Arthur Eddy Academy and Longfellow before the district closed them.
It's not just kids parents are worried about, however. Staff layoffs are part of the plan - and so are pay cuts.
"Everybody have to pay bills and take care of their business, so I feel real bad for the teachers and I'm going to pray for them," Moore said.
Some community members are also frustrated with more than just the Deficit Elimination Plan.
One parent spoke out at Monday's school board meeting, saying she had concerns that superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins had recently interviewed at a district in Minnesota.
"They called me and I said, 'I'll go have an exploratory conversation'. But what you need to know is there, I felt my heart for Saginaw and actually that was mentioned to me. They said, 'You're still very passionate about where you are'. I said, 'I am'," Jenkins said.
Jenkins was not chosen as a finalist for that position.
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