Battle Creek lays off 20 teachers, solicits bids to privatize busing, gives superintendent pay raise

The Battle Creek Board of Education voted last Monday to lay off 20 teachers and solicit bids to privatize its transportation services — and then a week later gave the school district’s superintendent a 3-percent raise.

All but four of the laid-off teachers could be moved to other open positions within the school district, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. Music, art and gym classes at the elementary schools will be most affected by the teacher layoffs.

Meanwhile, if busing is privatized, 50 district employees will lose their jobs.

In addition, district officials have proposed privatizing the district’s second-shift custodians, as well as eliminating two principals.

Despite all of that, the school board decided to boost Superintendent Linda Hicks’ pay by 3 percent, which school board President William Burton called a “token.” The so-called token increase was three times higher than that given to the district’s school secretaries, who received a 1-percent raise Monday evening.

In defending Hicks’ pay raise, Burton told the Enquirer: “Every decision that we make, some people will agree with and some people will not.”

“It comes as no surprise to me that some people were upset,” Burton said, ironically adding, “but we have to do what’s right for our employee.”