School board cuts five certified staff positions

DAVISON — With school funding up in the air in Lansing in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown, the Davison Board of Education voted Monday night to layoff five teachers effective July 1.

The board approved its 2020- 2021 budget earlier that evening that anticipates a $600 per pupil decrease in state funding for the coming year, due to uncertainties in Lansing about how much money will be available for schools.

An anticipated reduction of about 40 students for the coming school year also prompted the decision to cut five teachers, along with other budget cuts for the coming year.

“This is a tough one,” said Superintendent Kevin Brown. “Laying off staff is never easy to do. In the budget you approved earlier this evening it does call for the layoff of five certified staff members. That budget, most of the cuts are in things that don’t involve people or programs.”

Brown said cuts included a one-year delay on the ACC (Advisory Curriculum Council) which establishes an ongoing replacement schedule for textbooks, cuts to capital outlay and supply budgets.

“Things that we can cut without impacting teacher, para-professionals and other support staff,” said Brown.

He said the district is unfortunately projecting a downward trend in enrollment this year as well, currently by about 40 students Whether that happens the district won’t know until fall, but it means closing some classrooms, and reducing staff.

Board member Matthew Smith said the decision to layoff teachers was “a tough one” for him as it is the first time he’s had to deal with it since his election to the board.

“We’re not getting a lot of answers out of Lansing, like we should. It’s hard because this is projected, there are no answers whether these layoffs are actually needed,” said Smith. “I wish we had an answer. It’s not the administration’s fault, it’s the fact that Lansing needs to get it together and get some answers about what kind of funding we’re going to get.”

Brown said he spoke personally with each of the five teachers being laid off and he agreed laying off staff is not easy to do, especially if in the long run it’s not warranted.

“As I always say, we also have to plan for the worst and hope for best,” said Brown. “Their contracts expire June 30; the layoffs will be effective July 1. I think the prudent thing to do is to pass this motion.”

The board voted 5-1 to approve the layoffs, Smith being the only dissenting vote. Board member Mark McGlashen was absent.

Smith asked if Lansing figures out the money situation later in the school year would there a chance all five teachers could return.

“Anything is possible,” said Brown.