The Human Impact of the School Cuts
Since the launch of this website, we've heard from hundreds of concerned parents, students, support staff and educators who have expressed serious concerns about how these cuts will have a very real impact in the classroom. Below is a sampling of some of the stories you have shared with us. If you have not done so already, please feel free to contact us and let us know how the Governor's and legislative Republicans' cuts are harming your community.
The cuts will most likely cost me my job. I have been a custodian for 21 years. Recent action by our school board has eliminated all day custodian positions. I will be forced to take a night job for now. Bids have been taken for privatization of all custodial services, and I'm pretty certain that will be the next step taken by the board. This will cost me my health benefits when I'm able to draw my retirement as my health benefits will cost more than the amount I will be able to draw.
Secondary class sizes are being planned for 35 students per section. Shuttle busing for advanced students have been cut. We are trying to move to a better-off district for the benefit of our children. It's a frustrating time to be a parent with school-age kids.
John, Commerce Township
I am a teacher and the cuts that the district is making and has made are hurting our students. I am blessed to work for a district that puts the kids first but after $80 million in cuts, there is nothing left to cut. The class sizes are huge. Kindergarten and first grade have 29 students in their classes. Fourth and fifth grade go to 35 students. There is not enough paraprofessional support to help all the students in these classrooms. Busing has been reduced both in stops at the middle and high school level and for sports. Electives are being cut at the middle and high school levels.
On the personal side, my son is in high school. There are 2,200 students in the school that was built for 1,400. His classes are huge as well. The students are definitely the ones who will suffer from the lack of funding. I would urge the Governor and Senators and Representatives to go into their local districts. They need to see first-hand what is happening in the schools and how they can support public education.
Loss. Where my daughter goes to school, a wonderful public school, there will be loss of teachers but more children in each room. There is a loss of bus drivers, a loss of para-educators, a loss of secretaries, and a loss of media specialists. They are making caring people who love their job and do their jobs well leave. They are making personnel that teach our children and do a wonderful job, leave. They are making educators that know their job and love their job and went into the profession with purpose and drive, leave. There is loss of pay but demands of the job do not decrease. In the building I work it's the same. The Legislature needs to step foot into a school building and watch what occurs. They need to be a student for a week; they then need to be a teacher for a week. I invite any of them to be me when my students walk through the doors on the first day. Let's see if their opinions of teachers change once they see the incredible amount of work being a teacher and student is. Step into the shoes they feel they know. I would like to see who lasts the week. Loss. Too many things are being lost with the legislation that has been put into law.
As an educator the cuts to school funding will mean larger class sizes and fewer resources in an era where we are trying to prepare our children to compete.
Students attending Greenville Middle School were allowed to have three additional courses beyond their core classes. In 8th grade, my daughter had the opportunity to choose two elective courses along with taking a semester of health and technology. Students chose from band, orchestra, choir, art, foreign language, yearbook, and PE. Next year students will have one elective. Students will not be allowed to take two music classes; many will not receive a single music or art class. Parents who want their child to have a head start on high school will enroll their child in foreign language. This will destroy the fine arts programs that our city has developed a reputation for. Extracurricular activities have taken a hit as well. The "B" teams in all sports have been cut at the middle school. The middle school football program has been cut altogether. Several teachers have been moved from their passions, to fill positions created by teachers who were laid off. Field trips have been cut. These are just some of the ways our children have been impacted by Governor Snyder's cuts. He has taken away our ability to meet the needs of so many children with their unique talents and gifts. He plans to cut even deeper into the public schools next year, while his children remain untouched by all of this within their private schools. He is so out of touch with the common man and the needs of public school children.
The district I teach in was just the topic of an Oakland Press article, which highlights our high MME scores despite the fact that we have a high percentage of kids who are low income. We work so hard to overcome all of the obstacles these kids face and to show them that they can achieve great things no matter where they are from. I am afraid though that our success may begin to dwindle in the upcoming years. Due to budget cuts, our board of ed. decided to close the middle school, sending 7th and 8th grade to an older outdated building and the 6th grade back to the elementary schools. This will decimate our wonderful sixth through eighth grade programs and the curriculum we have worked so hard on together. Eighteen teachers were cut from the district which will only lead to larger class sizes and unsupported staff and students. The teachers stepped up to try to ease the cuts Governor Snyder has made. We upped what we contribute to our insurance and switched to a deductible (that we pay) to save the district $500,000. We cut our pay by taking furlough days, leaving us on our own to do the state mandated professional development and saving the district $300,000. We are paying 20% of our dental premiums and lost our vision coverage completely. The teachers volunteered to do this and all in all saved the district $2 million. We wanted to see the programs our kids love and jobs saved.
I am a music teacher. I have lost the computers in my piano lab, I have lost money for purchasing choral music for the students to study and perform, my salary is being cut by more than 10%, and there is no repair budget for our instruments. At the same time, I have a son in college, and lack of funding by the state for the universities is driving up the costs to send him to college. I'm not sure I can afford to keep him there without racking up a great loan debt.
Jan, West Bloomfield
The public school district that my children attend has cut busing K through 12 because of these state cuts. I'd like Mr. Snyder or one of his buddies to come and drive my children across town to their schools every morning. Because at this time I don't see how I can handle this additional daily task. I just don't have the time. I'm SUPPOSED to be at work at that time. Is this what the Republicans wanted to achieve? Forcing people to choose their career or their children. I'd also like Mr. Snyder or one these Republicans to please explain how I'm supposed to get them home from school while I'm at work. What a ridiculous situation this has created. What supporter of education would force parents to make a choice like neglect your children to keep your job?
The Governor's cuts will affect persons with a physical handicap like me, whom at some point might need a paraprofessional, i.e. classroom note takers, personal care attendants, etc... I, myself, had to have a note taker through most of my high school years and I am telling my telling my story to try to prevent future to a much needed school service.
Trevor, Grand Rapids
I have been laid off seven times in the nine years I have been teaching, including 14 months of no work in which they fought to not pay any unemployment to any laid-off teacher. This past year I had class sizes of up to 54 children because there weren't enough teachers to run the building. I was given no teaching supplies beyond paper and pencils to instruct them. Most of my hour was spent disciplining and writing incident reports from the fights and other class-related problems. I am currently laid-off again and WILL lose my house without my job. As I am a single parent with a child in college, we have nowhere to go when this happens. We will be forced to live in my car. This no joke or exaggeration. We need legislation that protects the teaching jobs so what trickles down to the kids in not devastation.
We are facing a great deal of upheaval. Class sizes will be rising by indefinite amounts as of yet. And we as teachers were horrified to hear at a recent union meeting that our superintendent is proposing that our teachers pay be cut by 23%. For me, as the primary breadwinner of our family, that is terrifying! Our budget simply cannot sustain a cut of more than nineteen thousand dollars! It would mean that we would end up losing our home. I know that many of my colleagues would lose their homes as well. I can't imagine how we can be effective teachers when we are stressed and struggling to keep our families fed and housed! Please help!
A good education is the most important legacy we can leave to our nation's future leaders and businessmen. By using education to balance a state's budget is not only unfair to our children and teachers, but wrong. How will our schools and society be affected by these drastic cuts should be very visible to everybody. Our children will be placed in classrooms with ridiculously high student/pupil ratios and our teachers will be faced with ridiculously high teacher/pupil ratios and unable to give quality attention to his/her students. Teachers will be providing crowd control instead of education. I do understand that times are hard and budgets need creative ways to be balanced, but at the expense of education? I don't get it.
Roberta, Walled Lake
My son had 32-38 students in his classes last year. My daughter sat in a couple of his classes because he was struggling, to guide him along. She came home and said, "Mom I know why he can't get anything done in school; his classes are unruly." We have taken away discipline, increased class sizes and made our classrooms an environment for students to fail. My son did just that by failing five classes this year. Class sizes are too large to manage if a child is completing a difficult subject. There is no room to ask questions and learning cannot continue on this path. There are numerous proven studies on the importance of hands on learning. Our children need to learn to trust teachers to guide them, answer their questions, and lead them on a path to success; not set them up to fail. I am begging you to help us put education first.
Cheryl, St. Clair Shores
My district has eliminated all of our inclusion paraprofessional positions and did not fill 5 teaching positions. All elementary classrooms are at or close to 30 and a majority of our high school classrooms are at 30 or above. These cuts will impact our ability to educate our students and will especially impact those students who are at risk or in need of additional support to meet state standards. In addition, classroom supply budgets have been slashed and the teachers, despite of major cuts in pay and benefits, will be expected to continue to purchase materials and supplies for their classrooms. I cannot think of another occupation where the employees are expected to provide their own supplies and material to enable them to do their jobs. It is a sad day in Michigan and Governor Snyder and the Republicans have managed to cause the loss of thousands of jobs while at the same time allowing large and small business owners to make even higher profits on the backs of the Michigan public.