After serving the Huron Valley Education Association (HVEA) for nearly six years, Mike MacGregor has decided to step down as the union’s president.
“I was close to leaving last year, but felt I had one year left on my term,” MacGregor said. “Last year I didn’t want to take extra money in the state buy-out — that discouraged me from going because I was personally opposed to it.”
MacGregor was tapped for the position in 2005. Subsequently he served two three-year terms. His current term expires at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.
“It’s time,” he said of leaving the position. “Every organization needs fresh blood and it’s better to leave before people start looking at their watch. After six years, others can step in and step up.”
MacGregor worked as a social worker in the district for 25 years before he took up the torch as HVEA president. He said he’s unsure at this time what path the future holds for him.
“I feel passionate about public service and public volunteering but I don’t have to be in the schools to do it,” he said. “I believe in Community Sharing and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee and a lot of other ways to serve — I don’t have to be head of an organization to do that.”
MacGregor said he’s proud that he has invested time and energy into making public schools and, more specifically, Huron Valley Schools better.
“I’ve spent an enormous amount of time with the schools and teachers improving professional development and curriculum,” he said.
With the teachers union contract expiring this summer, negotiations will soon be under way, and MacGregor said he expects to be a part of the process.
Amid heated discussions in Lansing where education has been the target of massive cuts and reforms, MacGregor has had his hands full, but isn’t backing down from a challenge.
“I dig in more when things get harder,” he said. “I’m an optimist. As difficult as cuts are, it is what it is and we just have to find ways to be smarter with what we have.”
District administrators say they’re looking at a $12.9 million deficit for next year’s budget in part due to Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed spending plan that includes a $470 per student reduction, plus a mandated increase in state retirement costs equating to $271 per student, bringing the total reductions the district expects to $741 per student.
Country Oaks teacher Josh Gignac, the HVEA’s vice-president, is currently running unopposed for MacGregor’s spot come election time.
“He’d do a great job,” MacGregor said. “He’s a great person who loves teaching and the kids.”