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Board inks CMPT contract, concessions included

May 25, 2011 - The Goodrich School Board voted 6-0 on Monday night to OK a labor contract with the Custodians, Maintenance, Para-Pros and Transportation labor group. Board Secretary Doug Tetmeyer was absent from the meeting.

The contract included a 5.5 percent reduction in compensation for the 61 employees, which should save the district about $120,000.

Betty Butterworth, president of the CMPT, said the reduction will save jobs.

"The administration threatened to privatize our jobs," she said. "Most of the 61 live in Goodrich and are members of the community and have years of seniority. I have 19 years with the district as a bus driver and am very dedicated to my students. We did agree in the contract to a wage opener for the 2012-13 school year. I hope by then the district is in better shape to reverse the consession."

In addition, the district's 11 administrators/supervisors are also considering a 5 percent pay reduction, said school officials.

Trustee Jeff Gardner, who worked on the negotiation team for the district, recognized their sacrifice.

"We realize this was not easy," he said. "They have bills to pay, too—it's not fun. It's difficult to go backwards."

The reduction is an effort for the district to trim $2.2 million from a $17 million school budget by July 1. At issue is keeping a 15 percent fund balance in the school budget, about $2 million, while contending with reductions in per-pupil funding of $170. Currently, the district should receive $7,046 per student; however, lawmakers are still deliberating.

John Fazer, Goodrich Schools superintendent, said the real question is whether the funding from the state will be sustainable.

"What (Michigan Governor Rick) Snyder did not say is this funding is just a one-time thing," said Fazer. "I hope it's not. Right now we've attempted to not eliminate any programs. We've just squeezed them."

Earlier this month, 25 of the district's 103 teachers received pink slips following board action. The actual number of lay-offs will not come until next month.

"We must remember, the amount of new funding from the state is necessary to cover rising costs. This year Goodrich has $639,000 in extra expenses. The fund balance is necessary so the district does not become a deficit district. Right now, 23 districts in the state have been taken over."

"If all the district employees took a 5 percent pay cut, we'd save about $860,000. Right now we're working with other groups regarding wage concessions," said Fazer. "Our budget includes 85 percent wages. We can only cut the other 15 percent in expenses so far."

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