Hamtramck school boardmembers are facing some tough choices.
Because of a drop in student enrollment, the district’s existing $3 million budget deficit climbed to $3.7 million. As a result, public school officials are scrambling to find ways to cut costs.
Unfortunately, one way would be to privatize all or part of the non-teaching work staff. That means cutting the jobs of custodians, secretaries, bus drivers and security.
These are members of our community, people we see at the local markets, shops, bakeries and churches, and the possible job losses will be devastating. As of yet, no firm decision has been made because bids are still being sought and it could very well turn out there are no savings by privatizing the work.
The real kicker for the district is the pension cost associated with each employee. Pension payments have become a burden.
It’s a shame the district is in this position. It has resulted in finger-pointing and blaming – things that are tearing the fabric of our community apart.
We suggest that this frustration and anger be redirected to the true source of the district’s financial woes: Our state legislators and Gov. Snyder.
In 2011, Gov. Snyder and his Republican colleagues cut funding to all public school districts by $1 billion. Hamtramck took a hit of about $1 million to its school budget.
This state cut has dragged 55 districts into financial trouble.
Adding insult to injury, the governor and state legislators granted a $1.8 billion giveaway to corporations.
Republicans have gutted public education in exchange to reward their corporate sponsors. They have no intention of keeping public education alive. In truth, they want to privatize public education to charter schools.
We need to draw our attention to what’s going on in Lansing and demand changes in how public education is being treated. That means paying attention when election time comes, and voting in leaders who value public education, not those who are determined to ruin it.