Frustrated teachers write letter to school board.

Many teachers filled the seats at the East Lansing Public Schools Board of Education meeting on March 13 where the 2009-2010 budget proposal was discussed.

Along with budget planning and development, the idea of creating combination classrooms was brought up.

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Superintendent David Chapin. Photo by Megan Murphy

Putting third- and fourth-graders in the same classroom teaching them the same material is an example of a combination classroom, said David Chapin, superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools.

These classrooms would help lower the budget, Chapin said.

Wendell Hocking, a sixth-grade teacher at Glencairn Elementary School, was among the group of teachers at the meeting. Hocking read a letter signed by the teaching staff at Glencairn that addressed the topic of the combination classrooms, and how the teaching staff is not happy about the idea.

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Public comment slips at the board meeting. Photo by Megan Murphy.

“We think that the school board can come up with more creative ways to fix the budget. They need to be more flexible,” Hocking said.

“The school board invites public comment, but they don’t ask us directly. It’s very frustrating. They need to bring in teachers,” said Hocking.

Chapin said he understands the challenge that comes with trying to balance a budget as well as trying to figure out what is best for the students. “It’s a compromised position. It’s unfortunate,” Chapin said. “However, I’m very confident that we are going to resolve our budget issues.”

-Megan Murphy

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