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Ann Arbor teachers, staff receive layoff notices amid $25M budget shortfall

Ann Arbor school district sends out layoff notices
Ann Arbor school district sends out layoff notices 02:55

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — Ann Arbor Public Schools has sent out layoff notices. Some wonder what lingering effects they will have on the upcoming school year.

"Several of my colleagues are waiting till August because they want to get back in here so badly, many are leaving the profession for good," Daniel Crowley told CBS News Detroit.

Crowley is one of several dozen teachers the school district has laid off. The eighth-grade language arts teacher has been with the district for over three years.

After a significant budget shortfall revealed earlier this year, it's the kids he thinks about.

"I think my fear is what are the long-term repercussions of asking your teaching staff to take on more and more as you diminish resources in other areas," he said.

The school board allowed up to 141 layoffs in place of the $25 million budget shortfall. Board members said classrooms could potentially increase next school year by a handful.

"For most grades and classes, it's around 28-30 [in classrooms], so I will trust our interim superintendent when she says we won't go above that. Of course, there will be classes here or there as they always are, though," said board secretary Jeff Gaynor.

This stems from the previous administration's reported $14 million bookkeeping error. A review is underway to determine how it occurred.

That shortfall led the board to believe they had more money in their fund when, in reality, it was much lower.

"Because our fund balance, our savings has been under 5% for two years now we are working with the state. We are required to have monthly meetings with the state to make sure our finances are on the rise and stable, but we will have local control," Gaynor said.

The district laid off around 56 teachers and staff, while another 50 resigned or retired. Several factors helped determine those cuts.

"Based on board policy, the first layers were discipline issues and ineffective evaluations, and after that, it went to seniority," Gaynor said.

Thursday is the final day of school, and for teachers like Crowley, this means closing a chapter. He just wishes there were more community inclusions in planning to avoid a major deficit going forward.

"There's no way a cabinet of a dozen or fewer people are going to come up with a stronger plan than had they released information to the public sooner," Crowley said.

According to Crowley, his colleagues question the serious impacts. What concerns them is the lack of resources.

"It felt like that $25 million deficit was announced mine and so many of my colleagues biggest concern was how will that impact the children who are already not being served in the way they deserve," he said.

According to Gaynor, new checks and balances will likely be implemented to avoid a multi-million dollar situation like the one they are currently in.

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