July 29, 2014

Elyria
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School board votes to cut 133 jobs

LORAIN — In an anticipated but sobering move Friday, the Lorain school board unanimously passed proposals to lay off 133 more city schools personnel.

Financial reasons and decline in student enrollment were the main factors cited at special meeting Friday for suspending contracts, all by the end of this summer. Ninety-three teachers union personnel, 12 Ohio Association of Public School Employees personnel, 10 non-represented support staff and three United Steelworkers personnel will be suspended effective June 8; two Lorain Administrators Association personnel will be suspended effective June 22; 11 LACE personnel will be suspended effective June 22; and 2 OAPSE personnel will be suspended effective Aug. 1.

David Wood, president of the Lorain Education Association, spoke up on behalf of the laid-off teachers, citing unfair and unbalanced cuts in proportion to administrators.

“A few months ago, I asked the board to show extraordinary leadership. These rounds of cuts show the most ordinary and arcane type of leadership,” he said Friday. “Those who do the most were cut the most.”

The move came after the school board’s decision in January to approve nearly $5 million in layoffs and program cuts to reduce a projected $10.3 million deficit for the 2012-13 school year. $2.7 million of those budget cuts were from eliminating staff members, 33 of which were announced in January.

“It’s nobody’s fault and it’s everybody’s fault,” said board member Jim Smith. “It just breaks my heart to do this, and I wish we didn’t have to do this, and I hope we can eventually turn this around. It’s just not a good day.”

Earlier, the board voted 3-2 to approve an August 2012 ballot issue raising property taxes and a school district income tax.

Board member Mitch Fallis opposed the levy, citing the undue burden on taxpayers. Smith said that the election would simply cost too much money.

“Because of the past records for special elections, the additional costs associated with special elections and the better odds of winning in November, I would not be fulfilling my fiduciary duties to the citizens of the district if I voted to place an issue on the ballot in August,” Smith said.

Contact Emily Kennedy at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.