Teachers concerned about possible pay cuts in Brighton Area Schools

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Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 18:41:26-04

BRIGHTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Right now teachers are voicing frustration and disappointment in the Brighton Area School District. As they prepare to return to school amid a pandemic for in-person learning they are finding out the school board is weighing a proposal to possibly cut their pay.

The Brighton Area Schools Board of Education met on Monday evening to address the search for a new superintendent.

When the opportunity for public comment came numerous teachers voiced anger about union contract negotiations. They say they are being asked to accept a 5.8% pay cut.

“We have $9 million in savings. That is different than other districts. We have steady student enrollment. That is also different than other districts, yet we are the only district proposing pay cuts for teachers,” said Jennifer Bouhana, a teacher, during public comment.

Parents taking their children to orientation at Brighton High School Tuesday voiced concerns about cuts in teacher pay.

“I am very against it, although my wife is a special education teacher,” said Derek Osolind. “They are putting themselves at health risk and now they are being asked to take a pay cut. It seems like they should be getting a raise.”

“I think it is absolutely disgusting. We are asking teachers to do more than ever before,” said Charlotte Perkins. “I am just so saddened that we won’t make that investment in our teachers.”

The board is not releasing details about cuts teachers are referring to, but said not everything is accurate or in context. It says any cuts are part of legally confidential negotiations that are still underway with the Brighton Education Association.

In a statement sent to WXYZ The Board said, “The Board will continue negotiating in hopes of a resolution that preserves current pay and considers the financial challenges presented at this time.”

The board also said $1.5 million was retroactively cut from last year’s budget and while the state has not yet passed the upcoming budget, it is projecting the district will face more than $5 million in cuts this upcoming school year. That could impact what comes out of negotiations.

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