KENT CITY, Mich. - As Kent City Community Schools considers ways to cut costs, one idea on the table is to hire 'teacher consultants' to supervise students for part of the school week, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

That is only one of several options under consideration, The Press reported, and whether any would be implemented depends on negotiations with the Kent City Education Association. The district, citing higher retirement and likely higher health insurance costs in the coming year, wants to reduce spending by $1.7 million, according to The Press.

If negotiations do not result in sufficient cost savings, the district might lay off 13 teachers and discontinue low- enrollment classes, or offer them online only, The Press reported.

Two plans for saving money by hiring "teacher consultants" or offering volunteer-led programs have been discussed, according to The Press. Each plan would involve using teacher consultants or volunteers to cover teacher planning periods.

The district is expected to discuss the plans further in April. Administrators said the district needs to make final decisions in time to adopt a budget by July 1.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Kent City schools say they must reach agreement with teachers by June or lay off 13," March 23, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Teachers and Taxpayers," Feb. 8, 2010