MMSD Teacher Layoffs

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

"All those approving the lay-off list say 'Aye.' 'Aye.'"

And with Ruth Robarts' call, by a five to one margin, today members of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board voted to approve laying-off 20 teachers.

"Those are 20 people who are very valuable to this district, have given great service to children in our district, and, to lose those people, of course, is extremely regretful, so this is always like the worst day that you have," says district superintendent, Art Rainwater.

According to a district memo, the cuts are spread among eight areas of certification, with strings and music taking the biggest hit.

But the move did not come before members of the board, and the general public expressed their desire to trim expenses wherever possible.

"Between health insurance changes, maybe slightly less than increases than in the last few years, 01 we could come up with a million dollars to cover the 20 FTE's," proclaimed board member Ruth Robarts.

Meanwhile, Don Severson, of Active Citizens for Education--which opposed the referendum, stated, "(I) urge you, urge you to take a very serious look and take action with respect to the health benefits package for staff."

But, ultimately, the desire to stick to their word prevailed.

MMSD parent Janet Morrow says, "We told the public that these were the cuts that were going to be made, they were not made lightly, they were not made vindictively, and I think we need for public policy, to do the cuts as slated."

Meanwhile, .Rainwater, who says the cuts represent the largest during his 11 year tenure, explains a number of those teachers could return to the district following summer retirements, resignations and re-assignments.

He explains the twenty teachers will receive official notification beginning Monday, when they take part in face-to-face meetings with human resources administrators.

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