Bridgeport Teachers Union prepares for more concessions - WNEM TV 5

Bridgeport Teachers Union prepares for more concessions to help district's deficit

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BRIDGEPORT TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

The lockers were once filled and the hallways used to be crammed, but as fewer students fill Bridgeport-Spaulding Schools, funding has gone away with them.

For the last few years, the district has been working its way out of a deficit.

"We have been working this plan, now we need to get some signatures that our employees are continuing to work with us on this plan," said Gloria Rubis, superintendent of Bridgeport-Spaulding School District.

Rubis said the district faces a $2.5 million deficit going into next year. And as the district continues to work with the state, it must prove its staff is on board.

"We'll do what we have to do to help the district, keep ourselves employed, and hopefully get back to where we were with our wages," said Mike Ombry, the Bridgeport teacher's union president.

The state wants to see contracts finalized between the district and the unions by April 14 before it considers the district's deficit elimination plan. Those contracts will likely have to include concessions. Ombry discussed state demands with Michigan Education Association members on Tuesday afternoon. He told TV5 this is a staff that's already all in.

"We've made five percent wage concessions the past two years. We're paying 20 percent of our healthcare. We've had a wage freeze for the past five years. We're looking for a way out from underneath that but also keep the district solvent," said Ombry.

Rubis said it will take a team effort to get the budget right - something that she said everyone seems to understand.

"They want to see solidarity. They want to see fidelity. They want to see that we're going to continue to work on it for the remainder of the plan," said Rubis.

If the district cannot reach terms with its unions by April 14, April's state aid funding may be in jeopardy. Rubis said she doesn't believe it will come to that.

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