Gov. Rick Snyder:
I am writing in regard to your proposed cuts to the education system.
What you are doing will be devastating to countless families, and you are cheating our children. I am graduating in June with an elementary education degree. This will be my second degree, as I have a bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University.
With these cuts you are proposing, I am afraid I will not be hired. I have worked with children with autism and at-risk students for 10 years. My experience has molded me into a patient, caring and dynamic educator. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I will not be able to use my talents to benefit the children of Michigan. With your cuts, districts across the state are cutting jobs, not adding.
My wife is a special education teacher in the Chippewa Valley School District in Clinton Township. The district sent out a notice that over 200 pink slips will be handed out on Monday. There is a very real possibility that she will be receiving one. She has been with the district for six years and cares deeply for her students. If she is laid off and I cannot find a job because of these damaging cuts, we will be forced to leave the state.
Upon our graduation from NMU in 2001, we moved to North Carolina to take jobs in the education field. We moved back seven years ago. During our time there, we created a network that would love to have us back, and I have no doubt that teaching positions are available to us. Florida is another option for us, as we have networks there also. Do we want to leave? No! I am a homeowner (which, by the way, I am underwater on, yet I do not complain. We continue to make our payments instead of contributing to the problem and walking away).
If these cuts go through, I fear it will not be because of rational thinking, but because of blindly following party lines. I'm afraid we will be forced to leave the state. I have two children who I must put first. Their future is what is most important. If both of their parents are unable to work, we must go to where there is work.
I understand your stance of running the state like you ran a business, but I believe state government cannot be run in that fashion. It is too big, and too many factors are involved to make wholesale changes that you are proposing without creating catastrophic damage. If your goal is to bring people into the state and keep those of us who are here, this is not the way to do it. You will be driving people away and forcing people out.
In my opinion, your cuts to the education system (along with your other cuts) exacerbate the problem. Less people equals less money for the state. Less money in people's pockets equals less spending, which equals less money for the state. Forcing districts into contracts (via emergency financial managers) equals less security, which equals less spending, which equals less money for the state.
Although this letter may fall on deaf ears, I appreciate your time. I beg you to reconsider your proposed cuts for the future of Michigan and its residents.
Erik Roberts, Ferndale resident