Saginaw School Board votes on new school closures, openings - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw School Board votes on new school closures, openings

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(03/05/14) - The Michigan Education Association is speaking out just one day after the Saginaw School Board approved a new budget plan.

The plan calls for closing new schools and re-opening a school that closed last year.

The Saginaw Public Schools and the State of Michigan have gone back and forth for weeks to come up with a deficit elimination plan to get the district's finances back on track.

Over that time, the school board has looked at several budget scenarios. Tuesday night, the board approved the latest version, which includes layoffs.

The Uniserv Director for MEA says her department is still having conversations with the district about how they're going to handle those layoffs over the next two years. There's no process in place just yet, but the district is going to be looking at teacher evaluations.

As part of the plan, the board voted to close Heavenrich, Houghton and Ruben Daniels Schools as well as the Staff Development Center. They plan on reopening Arthur Eddy Academy, which was closed last year. Remaining elementary schools will be pre-k through fifth grade. Eighth through twelfth graders will be housed in the two high school buildings.

Thirty-six teachers will be laid off next year and 14 the following year. The athletic budget will be wiped out by 2016.

Parents wish the district could come up with another option that doesn't involve putting teachers out of work.

"It's just sad," said Leisa Leivingston, a parent. "I just wish that they could find a better way than to get rid of teachers because we need the teachers. That's what's important. It's not so much the building. It's the teachers that really make an impression on the kids lives."

All of this will cut $10 million from their budget.

"I think the plan is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, I think that the board still needs to face reality that this district is not large enough to have two high schools and that we need to look at going down to one middle school and one high school model," said Sue Rutherford, MEA Uniserv director.

The superintendent says these brand new changes were necessary for long term stability in the district.

The district has until the close of business day Wednesday to get their approved revised debt plan to the state.

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