Writing in lansingstatejournal.com. Guillermo Lopez, president of the Lansing Board of Education, explained the recent decision to eliminate funding for special teachers in the elementary schools. He explained that the teachers were asked whether they would prefer to take a pay cut of about 15 percent over the next three years or eliminate teacher-planning time. At the elementary school level, the classroom teachers have 225 minutes of planning time per week when their classes are taught by an art, music, physical education, or media teacher.
The annual cost of replacing the classroom teacher with another teacher is approximately $6.2 million. The teachers chose to eliminate the planning time and need for a second teacher for their class instead of taking the pay cut. The result was that some people believed this was a plan to eliminate art, music, PE, and media in elementary schools. Not true! Every classroom teacher is already certified to teach all of these subjects in their grade level, and now will be teaching these subjects in the future. In fact, more than half of the special art, music, PE, and media teachers we were using do not have special endorsements in those areas.
Lopez said the school district plans to keep a group of specialized teachers “to work with the classroom teachers and to engage the arts community in the greater Lansing area to directly work with our students in each school.”