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Christmas presents or bills: Some Wayne Westland Community Schools employees weigh tough decisions amid layoffs

Some Wayne Westland Community Schools employees weigh tough decisions amid layoffs
Some Wayne Westland Community Schools employees weigh tough decisions amid layoffs 03:00

WESTLAND, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - After Wayne Westland Community Schools announced layoffs across the district, there are still many unanswered questions about the scope of the budget issue that could leave dozens of people without jobs.

Instead of planning on how they'll spend their Christmas, many employees with Wayne Westland Community Schools are now concerned about whether they can afford to buy presents for their kids.

"My phone has been blowing up," said Tonya Karpinski, the executive director of the Wayne-Westland Michigan Education Association.

Karpinski says her phone has been flooded with calls and messages from teachers worried about the district's announcement to lay off dozens of employees.

"I have people in tears, I have people not sleeping, not eating," she said.

Karpinski says that's the impact the district will have on people after it announced a $17 million budget shortfall.

"This is a district that has decimated their fund balance with complete overspending almost 30% overspending their budget, and then they have set themselves up with this current budget to be at a fund balance below 5% when districts are operating with the best funds they have been in and the best financial place they have been in in years," Karpinski said.

Along with the staff reduction, the district is also planning to privatize transportation, which would lead to more people losing their jobs.

Karpinski says a total of around 100 jobs could be impacted.

She also says the district has yet to tell the union how much money will be saved as a result of these decisions.

"I think there should definitely be some accountability on the people that are still in charge not sure how we have the confidence and trust in them to move this district forward when they are the ones who had the oversight and the authority to keep this from happening in the first place," she said.

Karpinski says she believes there is a way to save jobs if the district uses SR-3 money to balance the budget.

She and many others from the community plan to attend the next school board meeting to make their voices heard in hopes of avoiding what she believes is a big mistake.

When asked if she thinks public pressure will work, Karpinski responded with, "I certainly hope so. I certainly hope so."

The next school board meeting will be on Dec. 18, and it's expected the issue of the budget will be discussed.

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