PONTIAC, Mich. - The Pontiac School District will lay off more than 700 teachers, support staff and administrators in view of projected overspending of $11.6 million in next year's budget, the Detroit Free Press reported.. The district also plans to close eight schools.

Employees should know by April 30 how many will be called back to work, the Free Press reported.

Doug Pratt, director of communications for the Michigan Education Association, called the volume of layoffs "unprecedented" and told the Free Press that the MEA will monitor the process. Pamela Farris, president of the Pontiac Association of School Administrators, said that union will file grievances and may take legal action, the Free Press reported.

District officials said declining enrollment — the district has 7,200 students, but space for 20,000 — made the cuts necessary.

"The financial condition of this district should not be a surprise to anyone," said Interim Superintendent Linda Paramore, according to the Free Press. "We have difficult decisions to make."

"If we don't act, we could end up like other governmental entities that give up any options," said Board Trustee Christopher Northcross, the Free Press reported.

SOURCE:
The Detroit Free Press, "Hundreds of Pontiac employees to be laid off," March 10, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Cash flow an issue in Pontiac," Oct. 25, 2008

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