Despite concessions by the Granville Teacher’s Association which helped save five teaching positions at the high school, 15 teaching assistant and monitor positions and eight teachers will lose their jobs as a result of $1.6 million in lost state aid over the past two years.
The Granville Board of Education approved the dismissal of seven teaching positions including one elementary, math, science, driver’s education, speech, (LOTE) and two special education full time positions through reduction in force or RIF by a vote of 7-2. Board members John Shaw and Pam Tatko voted in opposition to the abolishment of teaching positions.
Voting on specific teachers, however, passed the board 9-0; each teacher has the least amount of seniority in their respective certification area.
Granville Superintendent Mark Bessen said the job losses are a direct result of lost aid money. “Basically schools were funded at one point to provide equal opportunity to students no matter where you lived, but the new governor doesn’t want to fund schools that way,” Bessen said.
If changes are not made to the state education aid system, Bessen said the impact on Granville and other rural districts will continue. “It’s going to be traumatic if we face cuts like this again next year,” he said.
For teacher Cheryl Merryman the reduction in force letter is her third having had her job on the chopping block in her first two years in the district for the Pre-Kindergarten program 2008 and 2009. Merryman is the single loss from the elementary area which has been hit with numerous cuts over the past several years as declining enrollments have allowed reducing the number of sections in grade school.
Math teacher Daniel Shepard, science teacher Jamie Bunker, speech teacher Jody Martino and (LOTE) teacher Crystal Kirk along with two special education teachers Ashleigh VanGuilder and Jessica Podres will be terminated effective June 30, 2011
The vote to approve the termination of driving teacher Nancy Andrus passed by another 7-2 vote with Shaw and Tatko voting against the measure.
The vote to terminate 15 teaching assistants passed the board with a 9-0 vote. Effective June 30, 2011 teaching assistant positions occupied by Gordon Smith, Sara Cooper, Kim Quick, Tom Cosey, Debra Cramer-Bourn, Keren Rees, Laura Kamburelis and Sherry Champan will be eliminated.
Monitors Ray West, Mike Minnie, Sherry Lewis, Alida Flint and VanDyke Bergen will also lose their jobs at the conclusion of the school year; the move was approved by a 9-0 vote by the board.
Bessen said the best hope of rural districts are for legislators to restore aid through figuring out a more equitable state aid system in addition to opposing additional cuts.
“We’re hoping local legislators will figure it out and start standing up for the rural schools and not let him have his way next year,” Bessen said.
“I’m already trying to think of next year, but if we have to cut like this again it will not good at all, they’re asking us to cut into the bone if this was to happen next year,” Bessen said.
Voters will go to the polls May 17 to voice their opinion on the $24 million budget which includes a 1.5 percent tax increase despite containing nearly $1,048,000 in budget cuts with a $170,000 decrease in expenditures from $24,218,553 to the proposed $24,048,553.