Greetings Governor Whitmer, Members of the Michigan Senate, and Michigan House of Representatives:
It has been extremely difficult for us to start the new school year in Dearborn without knowing what our budgetary allocation will be from the state. We complied with state law, as we always do, and approved a budget prior to our deadline of June 30, 2019. However, we did that based on projections and a “best guess” estimate of the final state budget. Not only is it very difficult to start the school year and staff our schools without knowing our budget but it is also very disruptive for our parents, students, and staff who have not had to experience this type of budget forecasting over the last several years.
As a result of not knowing our budget for the 2019-20 school year and a history that shows our state is last in education funding growth, we had to eliminate approximately 60 teaching and administrative positions. The result is a reduction in the level of service that we are able to provide our students. We tried to make these reductions outside of the classroom in order to mitigate the impact on instruction. The final plan to implement a balanced budget will have a negative impact on Dearborn students. The plan included the elimination of the following positions:
- Thirty-one direct teaching positions
- Parent Talk Coordinator
- District wide Athletic Director
- Six English Language Learning (ELL)
- Two technology coach positions
- Two Assistant Principal positions
- Director of School Improvement
- Literacy Middle School Coordinator position
- Math Coach position
- Two early childhood specialist support positions
- Two instructional coach positions
- Four middle school counseling positions
- Nine special education support positions
- One secretarial position
- A part time truancy position
- A part time new teacher coach position
- Three high school community liaisons
- Three Special Education positions
- Two special area teachers (music, art, gym, etc..)
- And several more positions as we had to add full time positions back for support positions that were part time to compete in today’s market for entry level labor.
During the summer months, we heard from many stressed parents, students, and staff who are deeply concerned and unhappy about current staffing levels in their schools. Several parents and PTA members came to our open public board meetings in July, August, and September to express those concerns and their frustration with the lack of urgency from Lansing to adopt a budget.
I ask that you please consider passing a budget that adequately funds public schools as soon as possible. We have seen the recent studies that put Michigan at the bottom nationally when it comes to funding growth. Please do not pass legislation that will continue this trend and divert money from the school aid fund for other uses. In addition, there have been other reports, such as the comprehensive finance collaborative study that recommends drastic changes to the outdated educational funding system in Michigan. At this point in time the bottom line for Dearborn Public schools is that the proposed budget by the Governor provides six million dollars more than the proposed House budget. Those funds would allow us to hire more teachers, offer more support services, and/or provide other necessary programs for our more than 20,500 students in Dearborn. We are hopeful that all of you (the House, Senate, and Governor) will work in collaboration to consider a budget that will provide an appropriate level of resources for our students.
You were elected to represent the people in your communities and to make the difficult decisions. I understand the task at hand is a huge undertaking with pressure coming from many different directions. I offer my experience, knowledge, and background as an educator of 24 years to assist in any way and encourage any elected official to contact me. I appreciate your perseverance and commitment to supporting our school district, the interest of our students, and public education throughout the state of Michigan. I implore you, please do not let the students in our classrooms become just another pawn in a budget chess game. They are the most valuable asset this state has to offer and provide the brightest hope for the future of the great state of Michigan.
Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
18700 Audette, Dearborn MI, 48124
Phone: (313) 827-3021