MONROE -- Monroe Public Schools officials gave unanimous approval Tuesday night to sending pink slips to the district's entire staff of teachers, principals, and other administrators.
The notice of the layoffs to 343 teachers and 19 administrators was done to comply with union contracts that require providing 60-day notices to employees that they could lose their jobs.
Superintendent Randy Monday said the district needed to take the drastic measures while it sorts through planning needed for next year's budget and funding cuts proposed in Gov. Rick Snyder's budget. The school district could be looking at up to a $5 million deficit, in part, because of the governor's plan to cut funding by $470 per student.
Mr. Monday said most of the employees who are being laid off would be called back. The district sent pink slips to 200 teachers and three administrators in March, 2010, in a similar move and later recalled most, if not all, of the employees.
Nearly 500 people attended Tuesday night's meeting in the middle school. Many of them attended an earlier rally outside the building to protest cuts in education funding.
Nikki Klonaris, president of the 360-member Monroe City Education Association, said cuts to school funding proposed by Gov. Snyder will destroy public education and devastate the middle class.
"You simply cannot run a school like you run a business," she said, drawing a standing ovation from the audience.
Mr. Monday said Monroe schools would lose about $2.9 million in state funding under the governor's plans and it could face an additional $1.1 million because of an expected increase in retirement rates.