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Posted on Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

63 Saline teachers get pink slips

By David Jesse

Sixty-three Saline school district teachers found pink slips waiting in their mailboxes when they reported to work this morning.

The layoffs are part of the district’s attempt to pare down its budget. After a series of budget reductions, the district is facing a $3 million budget shortfall for next school year, district administrators said.


The jobs of at least 20 Saline teachers appear to be on the chopping block. In this file photo, Saline teachers participate in a showcase and open house at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

File photo

Of the 63, the district expects to eliminate about 20 full-time positions, said Steve Laatsch, the district’s assistant superintendent and spokesman.

But 63 notices had to go out because of teacher contract rules on seniority and federal mandates on who can teach what subjects and grades. It's a somewhat complex system in which teachers in axed positions can bid on other jobs they're "highly qualified" for, thus bumping lower seniority staff.

The school board will be presented with the names of the teachers who received pink slips at tonight’s school board meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty School.

Another factor in the reduction of positions was the decision earlier this school year to close Houghton School, Laatsch said.

“We’ve got a laundry list of additional cuts that (Superintendent Scot Graden) has been talking to the community in meetings about,” Laatsch said.

Staff members who received notices will gather in a meeting this week to talk about the moves and the options they have.

“Is it likely everyone in there will be out of a job? No. Is it likely everyone in there will have a job? No,” Laatsch said.

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

The faculty/certified staff accounts for about $36 million of the annual budget. The total annual budget is $53 million. This equates to about 68%.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:47 a.m.

@ reality_check You have hit the nail on the head! I think most people do not blame the teachers for our current situation, but simply wish the teachers to help remedy the problem. I am happy that Saline has the best teachers in the state and it is only right that they be comp'ed as such. I do not know what percentage of the shortfall is tied up in teacher's compensation, but many posts allege it to be between 60-70%. I fail to believe that the majority of our teachers believe that 100% of the shortfall can be made up by cuts to the departments that constitute the other 30-40%. If enrollment is declining, then some staff cuts might be justified. It seems I have read many posts claiming the teachers are being blamed or questioning why they should shoulder the responsibility. This is where I believe we are seeing smoke and mirrors. The source of our problem is funding and blame rests with those that dole it out. Unfortunately the solution will come from us, the people of the district, including it's employees. The short term fix will affect the teachers, most likely in either reduced compensation or increased class sizes and fewer amenities (such as classroom printers.)


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

It's time for a reality check! Everyone needs to work together to help the budget short fall. Stop blaming the teachers, administration, school board, etc. This will not fix the problem!!! I would encourage the teachers to help as others have in the district. Health care benefits, salary increases, etc. I work for a university and I didn't receive a salary increase this past year. I pay into my 401K, I pay monthly premiums for my healthcare benefits (dental and eye coverage), LTM and out of pocket expenses, copays for office visits, and copays for pharmacy benefits. The days of getting things for free are over. Everyone needs to pitch in. What about giving back 2% or 2.5% of your earnings to help the district? This doesn't only have to be the teachers. Why not everyone in the district? I understand that some areas have taken as much of a 25% pay cut all ready (these individuals should be left alone). Please just work together. No one wants to loose their job and certainly we don't want to hurt the students education. I would gladly give up a percentage of pay to make sure another collegue did not loose their job. Just food for thought!

Hot Sam

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 10:41 a.m.

I'll say it again... We continue to be hoodwinked in to looking to the wrong place to explain our local budget woes. The problem is the money we waste in Washington...


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

Here's some salary information, it's from 2007, but the most recent I could find. Click on Saline Also, Jonny Spirit, I recommend that you check your spelling and grammar before telling people to "shut up." Your point might be a good one, but at least make it look like you put some effort into articulating it. I can only hope you're not an educator.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

let's remember that the union is in negotiations regarding the current contract. they meet regularly. just because the teachers haven't immediately given concessions doesn't mean we aren't willing to give up something. there are many factors involved- one being that the state is currently renegotiating the state retirement system for teachers. some things are going to change at the state level. when? that is hard to say.they are also talking about changing the health care for teachers (at the state level).


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 7:23 a.m.

>>SEA President spent 45 minutes of tonight's school board meeting presenting a "grievance" regarding teachers no longer having dedicated printers in their rooms but now have to share community printers You talk about being out-of-touch. If this is true, I think the members need to be rethinking their choice of representation. This entire story is being played out everywhere. Today Saline, tomorrow the next district. It's a sad fact, but a reality just the same. I too, would like to hear other realistic ideas about solving the problem and not just about how cutting teachers is wrong.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 7:04 a.m.

@proudtobeme Mr. Graden negotiated it - the Board approved it (6 to 1). I was at the meeting and there was discussion. Because the community generally doesn't pay any attention to what is on the Board agenda unless there is a crisis (like now) - it went unnoticed. Which is the way the SEA prefers things. The extension was designed to remove the constant budget talk and concentrate on educating our kids. I don't know if anyone could have predicted that Michigan would lead the nation in every bad economic category. Would you have ever thought GM would go into bankruptcy? No one is expecting the SEA to cover the entire short-fall, but come on, a pay freeze instead of a paycut would be something.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 11:44 p.m.

A lot of posters on here are yelling for Saline teachers to cut their pay in order to save their jobs. That worked out really good for the Ann Arbor Firefighters, didn't it? If you haven't kept up with the story, here's the links to follow what I'm talking about.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:28 p.m.

Hornet That pretty much sums it up. Good Job and Good Night!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:16 p.m.

Scott Graden negotiated it and approved it. Basically there really wasn't much negotiation-it was just quickly approved. I remember people being surprised it went through so fast and without much discussion because even back then the economy was on the downturn. So my point is it was him (not someone else) who pushed it through.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

Hey teachers & union defenders - what is your proposal to close the budget deficit since increased revenue is not an option? The voters (at least those non-apathetic citizens who took the time to visit the polls) voted against the countywide millage, Proposal A is something that won't change anytime soon, so what can the district do but cut costs to balance the budget and 70+% of those costs are personnel based? In fact, we have little reason to believe that Michigan's state funding for education will be what it is anticipated to be in the 2010-2011 year given the statewide falling property values. If teachers cannot or will not compromise, then the only logical option the district has is to reduce staff. For the record, the district has already approved a building reconfiguration/consolidation that will eliminate some administrative positions, plus the administrators and support staffs all made concessions to help address the budget deficit while the SEA has done nothing. Do the members of the SEA truly want to see their peers lose their jobs instead of making a concession? Do the majority of the SEA members agree with the SEA and what is done with their union dues? Do you all know that the SEA President spent 45 minutes of tonight's school board meeting presenting a "grievance" regarding teachers no longer having dedicated printers in their rooms but now have to share community printers, which was done earlier this year as a cost saving measure by the district. This was the SEA's priority on the same day a layoff of 63 teachers was announced. It says much about the SEA if you ask me. Any one-sided contract results in a lose-lose situation. In this case teachers will lose jobs and often the younger teachers with brighter futures are sacrificed for older teachers with tenure who should have been removed for performance reasons, but union rules make that such an onerous process it rarely happens. Students will be impacted by higher class sizes and reduced class options. One-sided contracts are where the local school districts find themselves today (Saline just being one of many).


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:06 p.m.

@proudtobeme You are correct - the contract was extended in May 2008 for three years - 09-10, 10-11 and 11-12. I'm still wondering what is your point about Mr. Graden negotiating the contract? The 100,000 plus in some of these comments I will assume includes salary and benefits - so yes, many teachers do "make" this much.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

I hope they kept some of the young energetic teachers and did not stick older administrators and counselors into teaching positions because of seniority.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

thanks to all the readers who are supporting your teachers. We all need to stick together in tough times like this and it sure does make our job easier when we know we have people behind us. I think I can speak for most teachers when I say that the only reason we went into this profession is because of our love for kids. Every teacher I know loves their job and loves teaching your children. We didn't do it for the money,benefits,or (despite what some people may think) the summers off. We did it simply for the kids.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:49 p.m.

@Steven Harper Piziks: Are you aware of any of the specifics of the SEA contract? Do you know how much Saline teachers pay in terms of their Health Care benefits? A simple google search shows you are an educator from Walled Lake. What is true for your situation may not be true of ours. Please get your facts straight before barging into an important, community based discussion.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:43 p.m.

Steven Harper Piziks You say "There's this idea in people's heads that for a good education, all you need is a skilled teacher," I say There's this idea in people's heads that for a good education we have to sell everything we have to pay for it! One might argue that we shouldn't cut the budget just redistribute the wealth! I used to have OK health care. I used to be able to fill my gas tank for $30 Everyone that wanted a job used to be able to find one. I used to be able to get by on $50 of groceries a week. Things are NOT what they used to be!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:40 p.m.

@Steven Harper Piziks The district will receive x dollars next year. The district can spend no more than x dollars next year. State law says we have to have a balanced budget on June 30th. Let's say 85% of the budget is salary and benefits. What is your answer to solve x? What else can you cut?

Fat Bill

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

In most cases you tend to "get what you pay for"... Unfortunately, local voters have no real say in how much money is made available for operations items in the budget. Sure, we can build state-of-the-art facilities that reflect the pride we take in our local district, but by passing Proposal "A" in 1994 we gave so much of our local control away to the State. Our state of the art buildings will have empty classrooms, we will lose all of the amazing programs that made Saline stand out from so many other districts as budget cuts force cuts to the bone. Maybe it is time to rethink funding, maybe introduce some legislation mandating stability in the school aid budget. I went to school in Oregon; my district was never sure it could open the doors in the fall, depending on the latest tax-revolt initiative. No problem for the wealthy kids, they went to private schools, after all, who could take chances with a public education? Stability in public school funding could make the difference between a business locating in Michigan or choosing someplace more family-friendly...


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:35 p.m.

Oh and I'm not sure where this 50 percent getting paid 100,000 comes from???? Have you seen the pay scale? No where on there have I ever seen that amount. If there is a teacher getting paid over 100 it is not for teaching alone. They are probably coaching 2 sports,doing extra curricular stuff,being a mentor,or some other job besides teaching. Where are you people getting your information from?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:30 p.m.

no the current contract was negotiated under Scott Graden. the contract with Dr. Geltner expired. Not sure where you are getting your info from. I am a Saline teacher,are you?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:26 p.m.

@BornBlu, right on, this is the REAL WORLD!! @Steven Harper, time to quit drinking the union kool-aid, I mean union kook-aid. I've been in the private sector for 30 years with a Master's degree and I am in sales. I bring in over 35 million dollars in revenue for my company yearly and I barely make over 100K and I pay $4500 a year for my lousy healthcare benefits, with copays of $20 for generic drugs and $35.00 for name brand drugs. PS--I have no healthcare when I retire, that is if I will ever retire!! Saline teachers can retire at the age of what? 52 with full pension benefits and healthcare for themselves and their spouse until they die at the age of 90 plus. Why should I pay for someone's healthcare for more years in retirement than years spent working?????????????????????? Please, someone answer that?

Steven Harper Piziks

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

@bornblu All the people you mentioned don't work in the private sector. Social workers and the others are also people with advanced degrees who make dreadful wages. My mother's a nurse, so I know, too. If I wanted a high-paying job, I would have gotten my Master's in business, law, medicine, dentistry, or a number of other fields where that and 15 years would earn me a bloody lot more than what I earn as a teacher. I'm very good at my job, and under most circumstances, I like it very much. Then I come to boards like this one, and I get both angry and sad. Think of your favorite teachers from school. How would your life be different if that person had been eliminated for budget cuts? We need more sources of revenue to ensure that all kids get a good education. A good school, like good food, isn't free, or even cheap. You can't expect a child to grow healthy from bottom-barrel food, and you can't expect a child to get a good education from bottom-barrel schools. There's this idea in people's heads that for a good education, all you need is a skilled teacher, and a skilled teacher can reach any number of students. But that's not true. I'm much more effective in classroom of 20 than I am of 35. Just keeping discipline takes up enormous amounts of time with 35 freshmen, and I can't cover as much material. I can't assign as much class- and homework because I simply can't keep up with grading the extra assignments. I used to have 120 students, total. Now, due to budget cuts, I have 165. (That's two classrooms =more= than before.) I used to give four homework assignments per week. I can't give that many now because I just can't handle that much grading--there are only 24 hours in a day. I used to get $100 per year to buy materials for 120 students. Now I get $40 for 165. I used to have a cap on special needs kids in my classroom so I could be sure to handle their needs individually. Now that cap is gone, and I have so many special needs kids, I can't even keep track of what disabilities they have. I'm struggling, fighting to hold the attention of 35 freshmen (about 20% of whom have learning disabilities or ADHD or dyslexia) and teach them something, while every day I hear about how my salary is going to be cut, how my benefits are being slashed, how I'm going to be held responsible for the my students' test scores, how next year I'll have 36 or 37 students per class, how the State has decreed that my students are supposed to master all eight parts of speech in ten weeks, how I'm supposed to watch for drug addiction, child abuse, suicide threats, and bullying, how I should meet the needs of every special needs child whether I've been trained in the disability or not or risk being sued by the parents, how I need to call or email the parents of every kid whose grade falls below a 65%, learn the new federal evacuation protocols in case a shooter invades the school, make myself available before and after school for students who need extra help, keep the kids calm during the occasional fake bomb threat, help the boy who's selling his body on the weekends to earn money for drugs, and figure out how to be a role model/surrogate parent to the kid whose father is in jail for beating his mother so badly she ended up in intensive care. Yeah. Cut the budget. Let even more kids slip through the cracks.

Saline Character

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:13 p.m.

Lot of very good comments... my comments are not directed at the teachers.. but at the union, the SEA, who refuses to negotiate in good faith! Ann Arbor teachers are negotiating openly, other districts have opened clauses or entire contracts to do the best to protect all jobs! As for the comment that Saline teachers make that much...s, a 2007 Ann Arbor New report, public record. Add their raises, and the average of the top 50% of the teachers approaches or exceeds $100K + benefits. The Top Cop in Saline, a pro for over 40 yrs in his field, barely exceeds that, and his top 3 aren't close. The fire chief is significantly less than the actual overall average wage of ALL teachers... and they are less important to us? Let's get real!!! A2Live -- where do you get your numbers, the reductions, where have they taken a pay cut? Let's compare benny pkgs to the private sector and to other public sector employees. Stop saying this is just an attack on teachers.. it is NOT.. it is a reality smack on what has happened in our society and community, like it or not, every one must share... as painful as it is.. why should any segment be isolated, protected, and insulated from the real world? because of the children? Do more with less, like the rest of the world has done over the last few years.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

Johnny Spirit I don't think you can find a person in this county that this has "nothing to do with" Anyone that does not get that this affects everyone might be better off in a different field. I know I would not want anyone teaching my kid if they don't understand this simple fact. This affects us all!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 9:04 p.m.

I "heart" Jonny Spirit


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 8:45 p.m.

94K? Really? Somehow I don't think that is accurate. Even so, teachers, for the most, part are not paid enough for what they do. We entrust them with our most precious gifts. So much of what they do goes unnoticed. Some of the comments made here are disheartening and clearly, uninformed. How do we solve the money issues? At the top of the list should NOT be targeting those who work directly with our children. They should be last on the list. In years past, while employees state and countrywide were receiving at the very least, cost of living pay increases or more year after year, teachers were receiving.5, 1, 1.5, and 2% increases based on a salary that was already low. Teachers have already taken pay cuts - year, after year, after year. And that was when the economy was good. Districts were not telling teachers that since the economy is so good, how about we ask you to open up your contract so we can give you a 3 or 4% increase this year?! However, now that the economy is bad, teachers are asked to keep on sacrificing. It's a crime. There are many other places to look to save money. Give teachers the respect they deserve.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:53 p.m.

Hey Saline community members, continue this important discussion at


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

Teachers caused the economic problem as much as anyone else. Parking lots filled with foreign cars show their lack of understanding they are part of a larger economy. Michigan employees who have a job 100% based on taxpayers should be driving only cars made in Michigan. That is the best way to ensure they keep on working. Regardless, if they were such good teachers, then maybe we would have a popullation that didn't create such a huge economic dissastor. Clearly, they either did a bad job educating, or are not really that important.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

@ Steven Harper Piziks: Let me state that I would never remark that you, or any other educator, "makes too much and shouldn't have a cadillac health plan" That being said, let me assure you that your remarks of making six figures easily (with your credentials and experience) is absolutely preposterous. I have been employed for 35+ years, with degrees and certification, and have not achieved that salary level. In my employment I work with M.A. level Social Workers, L.L.P. Psychologists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Speech, and Recreational Therapists (as well as many others such as R.N.'s, Dietitians, etc., all requiring advanced degrees and continuing education) This does not include marketers, mid level managers, and others who also are degreed. These individuals are responsible for a significant number of disabled people (the least protected and most needy among us), work a minimum 40 hour week, and remain on call for emergencies 24-7. Many to most of these people have in excess of 15 years experience. Not one of them is salaried at six figures, the least costly health plan (for a single individual) requires an approximate $200.00 contibution, and the retirement package is a 401K with minimal match. My spouse is a retired former educator so I am extremely familiar with the salary, benefit and retirement packages present in this state. While again stating I would never call you over paid, I would never try to make a case of (a teacher) being under paid or appreciated. The simple fact is there is no money available and your salary and benefit package (as a teacher) is responsible for a significant portion of the Public Education cost; thus your salary and benefit package plays a significant role/factor in bringing the budget into balance. Enough has been said about others (myself included) losing jobs, benifits, taking pay cuts, in this econimic enviornment, again that isn't the issue. There is no more money and it is quite appearent the public will not support additional increases in this economic time. My only real question to you (and others) who are critical of the current recommendations, is how would you balance this budget WITH NO ADDITIONAL REVENUE.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

How's that hope & change working out for everyone?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

It is not the teachers we taxpayers are fed up with - it is the UNIONS that are the problem. How about this for a solution, take all of the dues that would be paid to the union for a year to support idiot leadership & union bureaucracy and give that money back to the school districts (teachers won't feel that one bit). I bet this would go a long way to reducing the school districts' deficits.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:36 p.m.

Is everyone forgetting that Scot Graden negotiated the current contract and your elected school board signed our current 3 year contract?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:33 p.m.

I was one of those 63 affected by 'pink slips'. I walked in, checked my mail, received my notice, and went on to teach all day. My students never knew. My first concern is them, and what I need to accomplish by the end of the year. I am fortunate to wake up everyday and go do what I love--teach your kids!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

My only comment is that the timing and method of distributing these lay-off notices was horrendous. These teachers arrived at work, found a lay-off notice in their mailbox (that all other teachers could probably see also) and then were expected to teach! This is unimaginably cruel in my view. Professional decorum and personal respect for the affected employees would have resulted in these notices being delivered personally at the close of day prior to a weekend or non-teaching day. Obviously, my local school is not the only organization where these traits of basic human compassion are absent. How cold does one's heart have to be, before you can become a School Administrator?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:47 p.m.

A need for cuts is not an assignment of blame. It's simple math. There is less money to go around. So does everyone accept slightly less money, or do some people keep all of theirs while others get nothing (i.e. get laid off)? The complaints I hear are not that teachers caused this problem by getting paid too much, but that they sound out-of-touch when they complain about having to take cuts when everyone around them already has. The community doesn't get a refund if the SEA accepts what all the other unions already have. SEA members get to keep their jobs. The administration and board don't get to pocket the savings. SEA members get to keep their jobs. What the SEA offered was to defer raises in exchange for EXTENDING the already-extended contract. That is outrageous. Every member of the board knows they would be replaced in a landslide if they agreed AGAIN to extend a generous contract in tough times. Now we hear the argument that the SEA shouldn't have to re-open the contract at all? It's unfair to ask them to negotiate at all? That's the least defensible position I've heard yet county-wide.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:31 p.m.

I find it troubling that community members are continuing to blame teachers for the financial problems in an article that describes what must be one of the worst days in the life of 60 highly trained, educated, and normally enthusiastic young professionals. Come on, Saline. Voters asked for an ounce of flesh from teachers when they shot down the school millage. What more do you want from the folks that you trust with your children most hours of the day?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:24 p.m.

Jonny Spirit, I created an account just to say "BRAVO"!!

no thanks

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:16 p.m.

Saline Character, I don't doubt that you may be a sharp businessman, however you need to realize one specific thing that is extremely difficult for businessmen (including myself) to understand: a school is NOT a business. It's not run like one, nor should it be because your "product" is a child. You may be knowledgeable in some area or another, but administration is most certainly not it. The SEA has a contract, if they open it up for negotiations then they open up the ENTIRE contract. Do you really blame them for not wanting to go through that when just a few years ago (after the economy had gone south BTW) they solidified a solid deal that did make some concessions? A deal that the administrators gladly agreed to? I think that it would be sufficient to institute a pay freeze for the teachers and perhaps attempt further buyouts, and that is all that they should have to bear. The administration (and perhaps the last several) of the school district is most at fault here, they have failed to balance the budget. Period. Even if one of the reasons is that the teachers have an decent contract (and I would gladly argue that teachers are remarkably underpaid for the sheer number of hours they work and the ridiculous difficulty of their jobs), the bottom line is that the administration signed that contract. Period. Does some negotiation need to occur with the union? Yes, but they should not be expected to reopen the entire contract. Should the administration stop using the current contract, which they ratified, as a scape goat for their troubles? Yes. They need to cut where it would least directly affect the children, which means that you harm the teachers as little as is possible. I have a relative who is a teacher and have visited his classroom. You have no idea what goes into running a classroom and for you to comment on their pay without that knowledge, regardless of your real or perceived business acumen, is irresponsible. They earn every cent of whatever they should happen to make.

Steven Harper Piziks

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 6:05 p.m.

I get really tired of being told I make too much and have a Cadillac health plan. I have a Master's degree, two bachelor's degrees, and fifteen years experience at my job. If I were in the private sector with that pedigree, I'd be making six figures easily. I don't make close to that. What I get instead is really good health benefits. Take those away, cut my already low salary, and what do I have? And I don't get paid over summer break, either. I work very hard all day in classrooms of 32, 35, 35, 29, and 34 students. These numbers are expected to go up next year because of budget cuts. I haven't had a raise in five years (and with inflation, this means my salary has been reduced), and everyone hates me because I don't want my benefits cut as well. But through this approbation and disgust and loathing and devaluation, I have students to teach--YOUR kids. YOUR students. YOUR future. Do you want them to have a good education or bad one? How good a job do you think my colleagues and I can do when haters like the ones on the this board spew venom at us and destroy what little support we have?


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Stop blaming the teachers. None of this mess is the teachers fault yet some people obviously think the teachers need to shoulder this burden. No matter what teachers give up it is never enough for some people. If we took a 10% pay cut,you'd still be complaining we make too much. Even if we do make concessions,it is not going to solve this financial mess that we are in. The fact of the matter is that today some very talented,dedicated,enthusiastic teachers were told they do not have a job for the next school year. These are the people that you want teaching your kids!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Actually, Jonny, people are moving. Out of Michigan, which has the worst economy in the nation. This is why the population is decreasing and schools are closing and teachers are losing their jobs. We're the only state losing population like this. A big part of this is the fact that the state has grossly mismanaged its revenue. Part of that is a total compensation package for teachers and other public sector employees that is the highest in the country. The end result? Less teaching jobs. Younger teachers who might be quite skilled will never see that 94K or generous pensions and Cadillac benefits. With the decrease in population comes less demand for teachers and older, tenured teachers holding on their jobs, skilled or otherwise. I'm sorry to see the pink slips. I bet there are some very good teachers receiving them. But it was inevitable under the current system.

Saline Character

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

Jonny Spirit... Nothing personal, just business! Teachers aren't the only ones that pay for their education, I had student loans for many years after graduating, and went on to pay for a significant portion of my MBA. My children both have loans that helped them secure their degrees, as most do today. As for your 'shut up' comment, it does have something to do with me, everyone as a matter of fact, that is everyone who is a taxpayer, as we pay for the entire compensation, from local to state taxes. And taxes have exceeded the tolerance range of the local economy, as proven by the Millage failure. The citizenry is fed up with porr fiscal management of the public sector, and unfortunately the education channel is getting pressure also. I deeply understand the challenges faced, having been responsible for the business that employed over 200 people for several years. Face reality... this economy can't support the past..with 15% 'current' unemployment in Mich, and more like 24% with those that have fallen off the UE roles and those underemployed, with little prospect that the auto industry will recover in the next 3-5 yrs, and its an illusion if you think the movie industry and green jobs are going to quickly replace the tens of thousands of jobs lost in SE Mich. As for walking in a teachers shoes, in our own ways many or most of have had responsibilities that are equivalent in many ways, responsible for peoples well being... but the private sector has never had a teflon union or state level influence.. we had to live within the means the business provided, and when things went south, so did jobs... why should the education or any other public sector be protected?

Patti Smith

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 4 p.m.

Is that $94K figure accurate? Dude, I teach in the wrong district. Personally, I made the choice to switch careers to be a teacher...but so did a lot of people and the market is completely flooded. So it's possible to get a teaching degree, just not necessarily a job.

Jonny Spirit

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

I hope all of you will sleep better when everybody has suffered. It is funny how people love to see other people hurt. When the state takes 10% off teachers pay will all of you haters out there shut up. Sorry for people having a good job these days, sorry for people going to school a picking a choice of becoming a teacher, sorry for people paying over $80,000 for a college education. What were they thinking of looking into the future and picking a path that was stable. Before you type anything, think about it. If it has nothing to do with you personally then just "SHUT UP". No body wants to hear "my taxes are to high" or "I got a pay cut at my job you should get one at yours". Wa, wa, wa... If you don't like it MOVE! So Saline Character, if you have never walked a step in a teachers shoes, then you have no idea what they do. Oh and I think colleges are still giving out "Teaching Degrees" so if you think it is so easy go back to school and become one. Or just sit on your computer and type non-sense crap and complain some more.

Saline Character

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

The SEA offer some weeks ago was 'at best a deferral'.. an extension of the exisiting contract in exchange for declining next years wage increase... The SEA has NOT negotiated in good faith! They snubbed their noses at the Board and the taxpayers, while the service employees union gave back 11% and took headcount reductions as well. How any 'business' can expect to yield overall 6-8% savings in a wage intensive budget (Teacher wages account for approx 70% of the school system budget) is beyond reasonable.. and this is a business like it or not! Further, I would estimate that at least 60-70% of Saline taxpayers have had either a significant decrease (10% or more) in household income over the last few years, and likely has seen a significant increase in their co-pays and deductibles for health care. The teachers have not had any negative impact... Keep in mind that over 50% of the teachers make over $75K (2006 data) and the average of that group > $94K, NOT INCLUDING BENEFIT! They enjoy one of the best 'cadillac' benefit packages and state funded (our tax dollars) lucrative retirement program. All this for net 175 days required work (net of personal days, etc) whereas the average worker is > 240 days! It's time the teachers stood up and shared the pain that the rest of our community, region, and nation have been suffering. GET REAL.. this economy is not turning around in a year.. an likely will never in our lifetimes return to the great days of the late '90s!!!


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

This budget deficit cannot be solved by cutting teachers. There are numerous cost-saving measures that have not been explored yet - cap classes that are offered instead of letting student schedules dictate what is taught; encourage/reassign/buy-out the top of the scale teachers; cap class sizes and stick to it, eliminating overage pay.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

The SEA offered $1.8 million in give backs about a month and a half ago. The offer was rejected by the Superintendent without a counter offer. What gives? In addition, the closing of Houghton and the dispersement of the all day kindergarten program will mean a loss of revenue to the district and services to parents.