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Community reacts after Ann Arbor school board approves layoffs amid $25M budget deficit: "It's not fair"

Residents react to Ann Arbor school board approving layoffs
Residents react to Ann Arbor school board approving layoffs 02:40

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A day after a dramatic school board meeting, many Ann Arbor Public Schools staff members are worrying about their jobs.  

The concern comes as the Ann Arbor Board of Education approved to authorize Superintendent Jazz Parks to start laying off district employees in a 3-4 vote

According to officials, the layoffs would help address a $25 million budget shortfall, which was brought to light in mid-March. 

Today, the reality is sinking in for teachers who could lose their jobs. 

"People are feeling like I am," said Fred Klein, president of the Ann Arbor Education Association. "They're very sad and dismayed, some are disgusted and angry. Teachers are being asked to pay the price for the financial mismanagement and the mistakes of this district. And it's not fair. Teachers are not to blame for this crisis, yet we're going to take a lot of the brunt of the consequences of this crisis." 

State Rep. Carrie Rheingans, who is an AAPS parent, said the state is unlikely to bail out one of Michigan's wealthiest districts. 

"It's a really difficult situation here, and talking to my colleagues in Lansing, there really isn't an appetite to bail out the Ann Arbor school district since folks know it's one of the highest funded districts in the state," said Rheingans. 

Business owner and AAPS parent Jennifer Tankanow wrote a letter addressing her concerns to the board. 

She said laying off teachers will ultimately hurt the students.  

"Ideas would obviously be cutting at the top level, consolidating jobs, you know, leaders taking on more responsibility," said Tankanow. "It's not fun, but if we cut from the front line, we can't deliver our products and services, which is going to impact the quality of our kids' education, it's going to impact our communities and these amazing teachers." 

Board trustee Jeff Gaynor said nothing has been set in stone as the board awaits several community input sessions with staff and families next week. 

"You know, everything is on the table, and I trust we'll make good decisions the best we can under difficult situations," said Gaynor. "But everyone wants to know what the plan is, and stay tuned." 

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