SPARTA, Mich. (WOOD) - Sparta Area Schools is touting a deal that leaders said is keeping teachers in the classroom.
The district issued 37 certified staff layoff notices earlier this year, Superintendent Kent Swinson told 24 Hour News 8.
But contracts with teachers and support staff were up. And workers agreed to go with a different, less expensive health plan. Administrators are on a new plan as well, Swinson said.
He said the move is expected to save the district around $900,000.
"Because of the changes in the contracts and the way all groups worked together, we were able to recall every person from that certified staff layoff," the superintendent said.
Swinson acknowledged that not every district could avoid all teacher layoffs by taking the same step.
And that's not the only way Sparta tackled its budget deficit. Transportation services are being privatized and the school system is using some of its "fund balance" -- its savings, in essence -- to fill the gap.
As the new school year approaches, 24 Hour News 8 is examining how different districts are dealing with financial challenges and how students will feel the impact. Watch for those reports next week on 24 Hour News 8 and at woodtv.com.
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