South Adams cancels three teacher contracts
A lack of state funding took its total on South Adams Schools at a special School Board meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
School Superintendent Cathy Egolf recommended that board members cancel the contracts of consumer and family science teacher Celinda Herman, German teacher Debra Neuenschwander, and elementary physical education teacher Douglas Peterson, due to continued slashing of funds at the state level.
Egolf said that the reason for cancellation of their school contracts was a loss in state funding, thus dictating the fact that the current level of teaching positions canâ€™t be maintained.
â€œThe board considers the nonrenewal of your contract pursuant to its reduction in force (RIF) provisions to be relevant to the school corporationâ€™s interest,â€ said Egolf. â€œThis is not an easy time for any of us. Itâ€™s a very sad time.â€
Egolf said that teachers targeted for cancellation have a right to request a hearing within 15 days of the date in which they are informed of cancellation. She noted that none of the three educators are appealing for the hearing.
Egolf noted that those teachers would have the right to apply for unemployment.
â€œWe are not cutting the programs,â€ said Egolf. â€œIn some instances, decisions are being made on the number of students in classes.â€
Egolf also made the recommendation that the position of assistant athletic director be eliminated. However, board members felt that there still needed to be more research on the matter. As a result, board members tabled the discussion until the June meeting in order to study further clarification on the matter.
The board also had considerable discussion about a recommendation to replace one full-time custodial position with a 19-hour position, with no benefits. In the end, board members passed the recommendation on a 4-2 vote.
The Board of Education ratified a change in language recommendation that had been ratified by the teacherâ€™s association.
Egolf reported the following considerations when reduction in force action is taken: 1) certification, 2) seniority, and 3) successfully demonstrating teacher experience at South Adams.
Exemptions include, Article VII, leave of absence; Section B, leave for major disability, Section C, pregnancy, temporary disability caused by pregnancy and child care as well as Section D, parent leave, and Section H, professional leave.
School Board member Tony Mellencamp announced his decision to stay on as a member of the school board.
â€œI have decided to remain in the District 3 school board seat in order to represent the constituents of South Adams Schools,â€ said Mellencamp. â€œI feel that it is better that I remain at this time due to all the major decisions looming due to the economic situation and the cuts being forced now and potentially in the future.
â€œI will remain for another four-year-term with the understanding that if the economy improves and cuts are no longer necessary within a year or two, I may choose at that time to relinquish my board seat to someone else who wishes to serve,â€ added Mellencamp.
Board members also approved a request from the Chamber of Commerce for usage of the Burkhalter Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 3 p.m. for a performance of the musical, â€œIn Grand Old Switzerland,â€ as part of this yearâ€™s Swiss Days celebration.
You need to be logged in to post comments on this article.