Palace Chrysler-Jeep

School cuts 'don't go far enough'

Letter to the editor

May 05, 2010 - Dear editor,

On Monday, May 3, I happened to be browsing the employment section of the Lake Orion Community Schools site under "support staff" and noted this posting: Associate Business Manager, with deadline for applications May 7 and salary of $80,700. 

Hmm, I thought; weren't we talking about cutting back on administration in order to save classroom programs and teachers' jobs? 

Several days later I opened The Lake Orion Review and noted the proposed cuts in Superintendent Ken Gutman's compensation package.

I agree with board members Jim Weidman, Bob Gritzinger, and Mary Jo Burchart that these cuts don't go far enough, especially if part of the intent is to influence the next round of negotiations with the teachers' union by "leading by example." 

What is this additional "tax deferred compensation" of $15,814? 

Don't perks like a $7,250 transportation allowance belong in the realm of a private sector executive in a company that's making a profit, not a cash-strapped school district?

I'm sure a $45,000/year teacher would love to receive even a fraction of that to apply toward gas or a car payment. 

As for health insurance, contributing two percent is indeed "nothing." 

The average health insurance policy for a family of four is around $12,000. 

For a policy from Chrysler, we pay about 20 percent toward the premium (almost $200/month), and then when we get sick, we spend up to $2,600 more before insurance begins to pay any percentage of our medical costs.

But we're the lucky ones; those who don't have employer-subsidized health insurance not only pay more for their policies, but they must foot the entire premium bill themselves.

I think there's room for negotiation in this area, for all school employees.  

This past year has been difficult for our community, but I find hope, not dismay, in the voices of dissent we've heard. 

Our citizens are finally getting involved, questioning things that don't seem quite right, ferreting out information, and caring about what happens in our schools, township, and village.

People of different political persuasions have been working together to achieve common goals. 

The Lake Orion Review should be commended for supporting an active democracy. 

-Amy Marcaccio Keyzer

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