Budget cuts lead to teacher layoffs

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – Because of a loss of district funding from the state amounting to $7 million, 43 Dearborn Public Schools teachers are being laid off effective June 30.

The announcement came during the regular board meeting Monday, that also addressed the budget set at about $217 million for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins June 30.

Board member Mary Lane said she was was sorry to see the cuts.

“I know quite a few of the people on the list,” she said. “One of them is a new mom.”

Supt. Brian Whiston said that there was confusion about who was losing their jobs. He said that an agreement with the teacher’s union allowed for no layoffs of teachers whose salaries are paid from the general fund. “If they accepted wage concessions, there would be no layoffs from the general fund,” District Spokesman David Mustonen said.

Layoffs will effect teachers whose salaries come from other sources that are also being cut, including a loss of $800,000 in Title 1 money, which funds teachers for students below grade level in math or reading. Nearly $1.2 million from the Title 1 funds was set aside, to be used in the second half of the school year.

Also cut is $4.9 million in section 31a At-Risk funding, which provides assistance to students who are deemed at-risk of falling bellow state standards, along with $400,000 lost in Section 41, which supports bilingual studies.

“There will be layoffs and eliminations in those categorical funds,” Whiston said. “If (teachers) have higher seniority than teachers in the general fund, they may take that person’s position who works in the general fund, but no general fund positions are eliminated.”

Mustonen said that there is a possibility that some of the laid-off teachers could return.

“If there were any additional funding, they could possibly be brought back,” he said. “But the state has already passed the budget. So the chances of getting any extra funding is small.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)