More than 100 Michigan school districts facing unsettled union contracts

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Many school employees in Michigan could face a tough start to the year because the state legislature didn’t pass an education budget before lawmakers left for summer break.

“This is a real financial hardship for thousands of school employees,” said David Crim, a spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association.

It’s an issue Crim is passionate about: school funding.

“Districts don’t know the revenue they have to work with and that’s led to a lot of contracts being unsettled,” said Crim.

The association says as of this week, more than one hundred K-12 districts across the state have unsettled contracts. The ones in mid-Michigan include Dewitt, Mason, and Howell.

“Now with these expired contracts, they’re seeing their take home pay reduced as a result of the legislature’s failure to do their job,” said Crim.

Crim says this will force some employees to pay for all premium increases on health insurance out of pocket, freeze their step increases, and limit retroactive pay when an agreement is eventually reached.

The contracts cover everyone from teachers, to bus drivers, to other district workers. It’s a dispute, Crim says, that’s adding on to an already struggling field.

“We’ve seen many teachers leave the profession within the first five years. We have a historic number of teachers leaving the profession because they can’t afford to pay off student loans, to pay rent and other bills,” said Crim.

Crim hopes the state will come to an agreement soon before more and more people begin to pay the price.

“I hope the legislature decides to come back, sit down with the governor, and pass the budget she has proposed so that our students, our teachers, our support staff, and our parents can see the improvement in our schools that’s badly needed,” said Crim.

The legislature is scheduled to go back in session next week.

For a full list of districts affected, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY: Many school employees in Michigan could face a tough start to the year being that the state legislature didn’t pass an education budget before leaving for summer break.

More than one hundred K-12 districts are affected. The ones in mid-Michigan include Dewitt, Mason, and Howell.

This will force some school employees to have to pay for all premium increases on health insurance out of pocket, freeze their step increases, and limit retroactive pay when an agreement is eventually reached.

“We’ve seen many teachers leave the profession within the first five years,” said David Crim, a spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association. “We have a historic number of teachers leaving the profession because they can’t afford to pay off student loans, to pay rent and other bills.”

6 News reporter Dana Whyte will have the full story tonight on 6 News at 5.

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