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Parapros to stay, for now

Food service, transportation school contracts ratified

June 30, 2010 - Brandon Twp.- The district will retain all 86 paraprofessionals currently working in the district— for now.

Superintendent Lorrie McMahon said after a meeting with the parapros, a hybrid plan was developed where some will stay as direct employees of the district and others will be hired through a third-party contractor.

"They have made their own choices in the plan," McMahon said. "There are advantages to each option, depending on the person."

If parapros remain a direct employee of the district, the district will have to pay their retirement costs, meaning a reduced paycheck for the employee. If they choose to continue to work in the district, but through a third party contractor, they will have no retirement, but a larger paycheck, McMahon explained.

Earlier this year, as the school board struggled with the budget amidst decreased state per-pupil funding and declining student enrollment, all kindergarten parapros and some special education parapros were on the chopping block, despite pleas from teachers who stated how vital the parapros' presence is in the classroom.

Besides the paraprofessionals in the kindergarten and special education classes, parapros also work supervising recess, lunchrooms, and in the high school hallways.

"At this point, to start the school year, all the parapros will be back," McMahon said. "I think this worked out really well and they seem to feel the same. Of course, so much still depends on the funding, but at least we know we can start the year with everyone in place."

On Tuesday, the district ratified a transportation contract that keeps busing in-house rather than privatized, and also approved a food service contract with a 5 percent reduction in total compensation, for a savings of approximately $11,000.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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