November 27, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
30°F
test

Many fired teachers still in limbo

LORAIN — Lorain school officials have not decided which teachers won’t be back in the classroom next year.
The district already notified 246 teachers that they would be let go, but the precise positions that will be axed and those that might be spared are under review, Board President Jeanine Donaldson told the nearly 500 parents, teachers and students who attended Monday’s board meeting.
The list is expected to be finalized at a special meeting later this week, Donaldson said. The cuts must be made 30 days before the beginning of the school year, which starts Aug. 23, according to the teachers’ contract.
“There’s a lot to consider right now, and this is all so tense, that we want to make certain that we do this the right way,” she said.
Angry teachers and parents spent more than an hour addressing the board after the announcement, most lamenting what they deemed the board’s inaction since announcing that the teachers would be cut last month.
The layoffs were announced after the district’s new treasurer discovered that the district would be $4.75 million in debt by June 30 without them.
Etta Heck, who brought her teenage daughter to the microphone with her when she spoke, said the board has been irresponsible with taxpayer money by not keeping a closer eye on the district’s finances.
“If I told you that I lost all that money and didn’t know where it was, that would be theft and I would be in jail — well, why aren’t you?” she asked the members.
Her daughter said she expects her education to suffer because of the teacher cuts, which will likely eliminate entire programs at some schools.
“We are supposed to be your students and you are supposed to give us an education,” she said. “How can you treat the teachers I know and love like dirt because you don’t know how to spend money?”
The board members took several personal shots from the speakers, who made reference to the fact that the board members sat stone faced and emotionless during the meetings and refused to answer any of the questions.
Maureen Koler, who has three children in the district, said she didn’t think it was appropriate to avoid talking with people by having school spokesman Dean Schnurr speak for them.
“I speak loud enough for my kids — I don’t need a spokesman,” she screamed into the microphone.
The board said they couldn’t answer the three most frequent questions — which programs would be kept, where the remaining teachers would go and what the plan was for the future.
“I can’t get those answers myself,” said board member Dina Ferrer after the meeting.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.