Buena Vista teachers vote to continue working through Friday, despite not getting paid on time

Decision allows for district and state administrators to find a solution that doesn’t end school a month early for Buena Vista students

SAGINAW, Mich., May 6, 2013 — Teachers in the Buena Vista School District voted Monday to continue working this week, even though they learned on Friday that the district had run out of money to pay their salaries on time.

Their selfless decision allows district and state administrators time to develop a plan to keep school open for students for the last month of the year. Local teachers, along with the Michigan Education Association, have offered to help develop the plan.

“As a staff, we have decided to work this week, doing the job we have dedicated our lived to — teaching the children of the Buena Vista School District,” said Buena Vista Education Association President Joe Ann Nash, an elementary school teacher. “It is our hope that the powers that be at the school district and in Lansing can see fit to also do the right thing — for our students and our community.”

Students and school employees in the Buena Vista School District are innocent victims of gross financial mismanagement by district and state administrators, as well as Gov. Rick Snyder’s reckless $1 billion in cuts to school funding.

Despite the fact that a state-funded juvenile justice program left the district, the Buena Vista School District continued to receive funding from the state for the program — and spent those state funds. The state decided to punish students and school employees for its and the district’s financial mismanagement, and immediately stopped sending school aid payments for April, May and June to make up for the overpayment.

As a result, the district is out of money. May 3 was the last paid work day for employees, who will receive their last paycheck on May 10.

“Buena Vista school employees and students shouldn’t be made to suffer for school administrators’ lack of fiscal responsibility and Governor Snyder’s lack of support for public education,” MEA Executive Director Gretchen Dziadosz said, after an MEA meeting with local educators to answer questions about how this crisis will impact their students and their families.

Buena Vista teachers have made countless sacrifices in recent years. They’ve agreed to freeze their own pay for four years running, and the number of teachers has dropped by more than half since 2009, down to 27.

“As teachers in the Buena Vista School District, we find ourselves, along with our students, pawns in a high-stakes game that we did not chose to be a part of,” Nash said. “Our first priority is making sure our students get the education they deserve, and we’re committed to working with the state and the district to make sure that happens.”

Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-896-4465
Susan Rutherford, MEA UniServ Director, 989-686-4940
Joe Ann Nash, Buena Vista Education Association President, 989-686-4940