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Board OKs teacher lay-offs; more possible

by Susan Bromley

May 25, 2011

Brandon Twp.- The school board has approved the reduction of 15 full-time teachers, but more lay-offs may be coming.

The lay-offs were approved by a 6-0 vote during a special board meeting May 23. Trustee Debbie Brady was absent.

Besides the teachers, 31 other personnel have also received pink slips, including paraprofessionals that are not grant-funded, media center personnel, and office clerks at every building. The staff reductions, as well as a new energy contract and elimination of the community education director position, equal $1.2 million in savings to the budget. However, with an aim to cut nearly $3 million from the budget, district officials are still looking for $1.8 million.

Superintendent Lorrie McMahon said the board will use about $700,000 from the rainy day fund, and are in negotiations with the union, hoping to save more than $1 million. Still, more lay-offs may be necessary. She is waiting to learn final numbers from Lansing. The district is expecting funding cuts of up to $480 per pupil.

Officials are also waiting to hear about changes to school employees' benefits.

"Nothing is final, but things are being changed as we speak regarding the way we spend money on benefits," she said. "It's still in the formative stage in Lansing."

The district continues to negotiate with the teachers' union. The current contract ended Dec. 31.