The Saginaw School District estimates that it has 222 fewer students compared to last year, yet the district has 13 more teachers than a year ago. This is in stark contrast to the picture the district painted during the heated debate over Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget in May. Back then, a Saginaw teacher union official said Snyder’s budget would devastate K-12 education.
“Governor Snyder’s proposed budget includes deep cuts to public education which will severely impact our children’s education in Saginaw Public Schools and the community,” the school’s website claimed.
Snyder’s proposed cuts of $470 per pupil were eventually reduced by the Legislature to $300 per pupil, with another $100 per pupil available to districts that met certain “best practices.”
Saginaw will have 533 teachers this school year, up from 520 teachers in 2010-11, according to a Freedom of Information Act request. Also, the district brought back 57 of the 70 teachers it laid off after last year.
"It's not uncommon for school districts to exaggerate their fiscal condition in an attempt to put pressure on policymakers,” said Michael Van Beek, Mackinac Center for Public Policy education policy director, in an email. “This is just another example of a district doing the Chicken Little routine."
Saginaw Superintendent Carlton Jenkins did not respond to an email seeking comment.