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Utica schools laying off 35 teachers to avoid deficit

The Detroit News

The Utica Community Schools is laying off 35 full-time teachers to help balance the Macomb County district’s $277.6 million budget for 2016-17.

Monday’s action follows approval of the budget June 13 by the Utica Board of Education. Officials said the layoffs were necessitated by declining enrollment in the state’s second-largest district, which has about 1,400 teachers.

“This is a necessary step in getting our expenditures and revenue in line, but it is something that we don’t take lightly,” school board president Carol Klenow said in a statement released by the district.

Besides the layoffs, school officials told The Detroit News this month they have to transfer $10.5 million from a fund equity to avoid a $19.3 million deficit. Utica also made cuts to technology and restructured the elementary English language program.

Utica lost nearly 200 students last year and expects to lose 1,600 in the next five years. It projects enrollment for the coming school year of 27,683, a decline of 440 students.

The budget takes effect Friday.