News Story

Headlines Screamed Mass School Layoffs, Reality Tells a Different Story

Last spring, proposed teacher layoffs in Michigan made national headlines.

“Teacher layoffs in Michigan reaching an epidemic level,” said the Daily Kos on April 15.

“Layoff notices go out to 338 Chippewa Valley teachers.” said the Macomb Daily on May 10.

But now that school has started, many of those districts in the news have little to report in terms of actual layoffs.

In fact, Chippewa Valley Schools has seven more teachers than last year and didn’t lay off any teachers, according to a Freedom of Information Act request. The district had 799 teachers when the headline last spring warned of potential layoffs of 42 percent of the teachers’ workforce. That workforce is up to 806 teachers this year.

Michael Van Beek, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's education policy director, said many union contracts state that teachers have to be notified if they are going to be laid off.  Van Beek said many districts notify more teachers than they intend on laying off, calling it a common practice. He added that the media often reports on the layoff notifications, but seldom reports when most teachers are hired back.

The Monroe School District made headlines when it sent pink slips to all of its 343 teachers.

In reality, Monroe laid off 14 teachers and called back 2.5 full time teaching positions.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget cuts set off the series teacher layoff stories. Gov. Snyder originally proposed a $300 per pupil cut for school districts. The actual cuts ended up being between $100 and $200 per pupil, depending on if the districts met certain “best practices.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.