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Board of Educations Lays Off Five Teachers

Board reduces another teacher's position as well because of budget constraints.

Thursday night, the Board of Education voted to lay off five teachers and reduce another teacher’s position by 20 percent because of budget and enrollment constraints.

The board unanimously voted to not renew the contracts of Ellen Getty, Aerilee Degiacomo, Catherine McDonald, Michelle Pyka, Mary Hendrickson and Jessica Hildahl. Hildahl’s position was reduced from full-time to 80 percent, while the other five teachers will not have jobs in Waterford next year because of budget constraints, according to Superintendent Jerome Belair.

Board member Kevin Brunelle said the layoffs were "due to budgetary circumstances and not due to performance."

Three of the reductions were results of last year’s cuts. The other three were from declining enrollment in the Waterford School District.

Specifics

Two elementary school teachers were laid off because Waterford is expecting 78 fewer students next year, and there was not the need, Belair said. Hildahl, who teaches Latin, is having her position reduced because enrollment in Latin is down, he said.

Last year, the board , although several had their jobs reinstated because other teachers went on leave for a year. Two teachers who were on leave are coming back next year, and they knocked out two other teachers who were originally laid off, were rehired because of an open spot, and now are being laid off again because their spot goes to the returning teacher with more seniority, Belair said.

The final teacher is an art teacher who was laid off last year. The teacher went on leave this year, tried to come back for next year but there was still no spot for her, Belair said.

Belair stressed after the meeting that the teachers were laid off because of budget constraints and not because of their performance. Per union contract, teachers are laid off based on their seniority, with the teachers with the least experience being the first to be let go. There is a chance the teachers could be reinstated if other teachers go on leave for next year or unexpectedly leave the district.

The Board of Education met in executive session before the meeting Thursday night to discuss the lay offs. During the regular meeting, the board approved the non-renewals unanimously, without discussion.

Waterford Rez April 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Where I work, when it is time to make cuts, the lower performing employees are shown the door. Of course, I am in non-union (thank God) job where performance is rewarded. What a sad, sad system. Chances are there are one or more sub-standard teachers that are "untouchable" that will be still teaching. I hate to see any let go, but if the need arises, what kind of system just arbitrarily cuts the most junior people. Junior employees are often the most "bang for your buck", i.e. energetic, enthusiastic, lower wage, educated with newer theories and practices and more healthy. Yet, they are the first to go. I am in no way blaming the BOE or even the teachers, this is the system the residents of Waterford have agreed to via union negotiations. This is a democracy, we get what we deserve. We are to blame. Period.
Waterford Rez April 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
It would be nice, however, to see some senior teachers who are eligible to retire, retire. This would allow the junior teachers to keep their jobs. After all, President Obama preaches 24/7 the need to "spread the wealth". "share the burden", "help the less unfortunate", however, the teachers (and teachers union), who with out any doubt overwhelmingly supported Obama and will again, somehow draw the line when it comes to issues that effect them. "I'll preach, you practice" is the typical mentality of this group. Kinda like how VP Biden gives less then 2% to charity. Now is the time to steep up (or down in reality). Do the right thing-retire and save a job. There has to be 5 of you out there? Bueller, Bueller, anyone??

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