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Ball-Charter School District Lays Off Teachers
When you're millions of dollars in the hole, cuts have to be made.
Ball-Chatham School Board members said they didn't want to cut teaching positions, but had no choice. They said the layoffs will save the school district $1 million
"We've never had to cut teachers because of funding," school board president Jim Neuses said.
He believes it simply came down to numbers. State aid hasn't come through, which left the district $3 million short. As tough as it is, he said it was the board's only choice to cut 10 teachers and reduce a full-time teacher to part-time.
"Eighty percent of all of our budgeting in the education fund is teachers, salaries and benefits," Neuses said. "To look at it, that's what we had to do."
Maybe so, Ball-Chatham Education Association president Laura Sheedy said, but it still hurts.
"It's a sad day," Sheedy said. "I've taught here for 20 years and never seen a riff. People have lost their jobs. People who have young babies, new homes, new families. Those are the ones that were riffed."
Teachers that survived the ax will have to pick up the slack for those that are pink-slipped. At the high school and middle school, they will have to teach an extra class every day.
Edith Edie, a grandparent of a Ball-Chatham student, said she understands the realities of budget woes, but said teachers should be the last to be fired.
"Cut it elsewhere," Edie said. "If you need to cut the sports program, cut the sports program. If you need to cut salaries for higher officials, then you need to cut it there."
Neuses said there is a possibility that up to eight of the 10 ten teachers cut loose could get their jobs back. The board is working on a proposal that would offer eight veteran teachers an early retirement package.
If some or all accept the offer, then their positions would be filled by the teachers that were fired.