Parents upset with Saginaw Public Schools decision - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Parents upset with Saginaw Public Schools decision to cut sports funding

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(02/21/14) - The Saginaw School Board's decision to cut funding for sports, to reduce the district's debt, is not sitting well with many parents and students. It's a game changing decision that brought one Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy student to tears.

"I want to play for Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, and be able to win a championship for my coach," the student said.

School board members have agreed to cut funding for sports programs for the 2015-2016 school year.

"We are looking at doing athletics differently, we are going to have our sports, but we are going to look at having self-funded sports," said Dr. Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools.

"That's terrible. The state of affair that we are in, our poor kids," said Cindy Mosequeda, a parent in the district.

The board is also looking to close schools, reconstruct the makeup of the district and cut staff and wages.

They're working against the clock to reduce a multi-million dollar deficit.

"The state has put us in this position, and they've put us in the position of also making decisions at the last minute," said Leann Bauer, with the Saginaw Education Association.

The revised proposal would help the district's budget rebound by saving $5.3 million. Parents aren't big fans of the idea.

"I'm not happy with it," said Aretha Harston, who has a granddaughter in the district.

Time is running out. District leaders had to meet a state imposed deadline, or lose next month's funding.

"If they can get an acceptable plan to us, then that's a positive note moving forward, and hopefully they can slowly get themselves out of this deficit situation," said Bill Disessa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education.

While it's not the most popular decision, it could be Saginaw School's last shot at securing much-needed state aid.

"It's going to be terrible, but I'm one of those parent's that believes if we all band together as parents, we might be able to help," Mosequeda said.

The proposal was due by 5pm Friday. The State Department of Education plans to look over it next week, and they'll likely decide if the revised plan is acceptable then.

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