April 24, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain Schools official resigns

David Williams says teacher layoffs didn’t affect his decision

LORAIN — One of the administrators responsible for deciding which Lorain school district teachers would be laid off submitted his letter of resignation Friday — the same day the school board cut a third of its teaching staff.
David Williams, the director of operations and human resources, who has come under fire from teachers upset with the time it took to choose the teachers who lost their jobs, said Wednesday the recent controversy did not factor into his decision to step down.
“I’ve been here for five years, and some opportunities have come along,” he said. Williams, who made nearly $138,000 a year, would not say whether he already has a job lined up.
Williams, 45, has been criticized in the wake of the cuts for not creating the list of teachers who would be laid off in time for the teachers to look for other jobs. At the request of the teachers union, the district mailed letters notifying 246 teachers that they could be laid off in early June, but the list wasn’t finalized until Friday, and 11 teachers weren’t notified that they were axed until then.
“He hasn’t been doing his job for a while,” said Christine Miller, head of the teachers union. “When you’re (laying off), you should know who’s going.”
The district had to make the cuts to avoid a looming
$11 million debt that was noticed in May after the district’s new treasurer discovered that previous calculations about the district’s solvency were incorrect.
Miller said Williams had time from the day the treasurer announced his find to compile the list of teachers but had to keep changing it because he wasn’t doing the proper research into who had the certifications and seniority the district needed. She also said he was not very easy to work with and would not return phone calls in due time, if ever.
Williams said those criticisms come from frustrations people have about the situation and are directed at him because he was one of the people forced to make the tough decisions.
“Folks want to focus on what they perceive to be a problem, and the person signing that letter is sometimes the focus of whatever their ire is,” he said. “What’s more important is that the board is pleased about the job you’re doing and that you’re doing what they want.”
Lorain Schools Superintendent Dee Morgan, who will be stepping down Tuesday, said she will be sorry to see Williams go.
“David did a great job,” she said. “He worked through a couple of (layoffs) and two buyouts and two retirement incentive options. He had a lot of issues on his plate and it wasn’t easy.”
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.