Flint school district lays off 250 staff

Jun 5, 2014

The Flint school district is sending out some 250 pink slips this week.

District administrators say they're running out of options.
Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

They're laying off non-classroom staff, from janitors to secretaries to school safety workers. 

 Administrators say they have no choice: they're coming up against a state deadline to eliminate the district's $10 million general fund deficit. 

Now the district will look to outsource those positions through a private company.

Karon Grubb is a secretary in the administration office.

She says it'll be hard for an outside company to replace these workers, some who've been there for decades.

"Being a secretary in a school is a lot different than being a secretary in an office," said Grubb. "When you run an office in a school, you're a mother to these children, you're a nurse to these children, you counsel them."

Grubb says the union is talking about filing a grievance against the district, because the support staff's contract goes to 2015.

Flint has already laid off almost a 100 teachers this year and closed several buildings.

While neither the interim superintendent nor the school board president returned our calls before airtime, other reports say administrators feel they're running out of places to cut.

For those like Grubb, getting a pink slip feels especially hard. She was hoping to retire in the next few years.

"I've worked for Flint schools for 19 years" she said, "and there are a lot of ladies out there who have worked just as long, or longer. And they're like me, they're in their fifties, and it's like, what are we supposed to do now?"