After a four hour meeting, the Saginaw Board of Education approved a new deficit elimination plan in a five-to-two vote. The approval of the plan means the board will meet their deadline of submitting a deficit elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education.
The plan calls for keeping both high schools open, holding grades eight through 12 at both Arthur Hill High School and Saginaw High School. Officials say this is a direct result of the community reacting to the proposed closure of Saginaw High.
Under this current plan, there will be one middle school holding grades six and seven at Thompson Middle School. The plan also calls for seven elementary schools holding Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade.
Also, the teachers union has agreed to yet another 2-percent pay cut and the board is calling for the layoff of 35 district employees and six administrators. District officials and board members say theyâ??re just happy the district will live to see another day.
â??All I wanted was our school district to be saved. I wasn't into what buildings it was going to be. I wanted it to be that we have a thriving school district in the fall,â?? says Marshall Thomas who has grandchildren in the Saginaw public school district.
â??I'm very happy,â?? says Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of the Saginaw school district. â??A five to two vote on something this serious---I'm very happy about this but what I'm really happy about is the fact that our community came out,â?? says Jenkins. â??You heard them. They spoke. They were passionate but they were very understanding coming into this process that everyone wouldn't win,â?? he adds.
Jenkins also confirmed that he has applied and interviewed for superintendent jobs outside of the Saginaw school district. However, Jenkins says his heart is in Saginaw and he will see the district through this crisis.
The next step for district officials is to formally submit the plan to the Michigan Department of Education.