Aug 21, 2007
The School Board for Hanover-Horton School in Jackson County did the hard work and due diligence and was able to keep its hard-working employees and avoid the privatization disease spreading like a plague in Michigan.
Accord to the Jackson Citizen Patriot, the board and the Hanover-Horton Education Support Personnel union spent about two months working to amend the custodians' contract to help cut costs and kill the privatization effort. The board and union agreed to cut the custodial budget by about $160,000, to slightly more than $300,000, and the unions made numerous concessions that included not filling two vacant positions, cuts in pay and higher health insurance co-pays. The 6-1 vote was against hiring a private company and keeping the employees.
Earlier this month the Howell Public School Board of Education took the opposite tack and voted to privatize the custodians, fire 40 employees and break the union. The union representing the custodians was more than willing to make some or all of the same concessions as their union brothers and sisters in Hanover-Horton did, but apparently the board took the easy way out.
It seems ironic that some board members in Howell say it was the hardest decision they ever had to make after the vote, but when you look closer it seems like it was the easy way out, but certainly the most callous, hard and shortsighted decision they ever made.
It seems just as ironic that Howell has some of the highest paid administrators in Livingston County, including four assistant superintendent and 12 supervisors or directors, but not a single one of these people were willing to roll their sleeves up and put in the effort and hard work to reach an agreement that would have kept 40 loyal employees and made the schools a safer and cleaner place. Sad.
The more than 50 people who attended the meeting Monday night broke into applause after the vote, and I would like to add my applause for the school board at Hanover-Horton.