Apr 16, 2012
About 40 teachers and 55 other employees were laid off suddenly in the Pontiac School District in Michigan. They were notified on Wednesday, April 11, and they were gone just two days later.
All of the teachers are at the elementary level, meaning kids from kindergarten through 6th grade will suddenly be shuffled around to different teachers, and stuffed into overcrowded classrooms – with two more months to go until the end of the school year. The emotional and intellectual disruption will be enormous.
District officials justify this move by pointing to the school district’s 24 million dollar deficit. But the deficit was created by the state, with help from those district officials. The state government has cut way, way back on its funding to cities and school districts, paying out only 10% of what it did just a couple decades ago. And it has never followed through on replacing all the school funding lost when it removed local property taxes from the equation fifteen years ago.
The poorer, more working class districts across the state are running out of money so the state can hand over millions to big business. It’s true for all the cuts today to public services, but it’s the most unconscionable when those who pay the cost are young children further deprived of education.