April 16, 2014

Elyria
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Vermilion school system announces 34 job cuts

VERMILION – Thirty-four employees won’t have jobs with the Vermilion Schools next school year.

The cuts are the first part of the district’s ambitious plan to save an estimated $4 million in each of the next two years to stave off projected deficits. The plan also calls for shrinking the district from four to three buildings and the eventual creation of a single, consolidated campus.

The second of two rounds of layoff notices went out this week to 13 non-teaching workers, including four bus drivers, three lunch monitors, three educational or classroom aides, two custodians and one food service worker, according to Superintendent Phil Pempin.

Earlier, 17 teachers were notified their positions would be gone next year.

In addition, four secretaries not represented by the system’s Ohio Association of Public School Employees chapter will lose their jobs. Two will be laid off from the district’s buildings, and two who work in the district’s central office were told their contracts wouldn’t be renewed.

Pempin said where the teachers will be cut from hasn’t yet been determined.

“We’re still looking at enrollment figures, but we’re weighting it more toward the high school due to the elimination of block scheduling,” Pempin said. “We can’t quantify it yet as we’re still re-organizing programs into ‘period’ days. The majority of changes are going to come there.”

The bulk of the $4 million in projected savings is anticipated to come from the elimination of block scheduling at the high school, which saw longer class periods, and from the consolidation of buildings. The district plans to return to more traditional hour-long class periods. The change in scheduling will mean the loss of some programming, Pempin said.

The district also looks to save at least $350,000 from closing South Street Elementary School. It is the system’s oldest building and was opened in 1923.  That school’s staff will be reassigned to the remaining three buildings: Vermilion High School, Sailorway Middle School and Vermilion Intermediate School. The three remaining schools will be realigned to offer three new grade divisions: K-3, 4-7 and 8-12.

Other major cost-cutting measures include doing away with busing for grades nine through 12, projected to save $290,000, and by reducing textbook purchases while increasing the use of technology such as electronic readers, which could save $320,000.

School officials are meeting with the district’s union representatives to arrive at the exact number of teachers to be eliminated at each building and hope to announce that information soon, Pempin said.

“The earlier (teachers) know where they will be re-assigned, it should ease some of the anxiety and help them change gears in terms of assignments,” he said. “The union believes the same way.”

Calls to teacher representatives at the Vermilion Teacher Association were not returned Friday.

The exact amount of money to be saved from personnel cuts could fluctuate, according to Pempin, as salaries and benefits still are being calculated.

Despite a projected $7.2 million deficit by the 2011-12 school year, school officials are pledging not to ask voters for new operating money for two years.