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Collins Career Center lays off 10

Ten Collins Career Center employees lost their jobs Monday following layoffs by the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District Board of Education.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Ten Collins Career Center employees lost their jobs Monday following layoffs by the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District Board of Education.

The board and Collins superintendent Perry Walls cited funding losses due to decreasing enrollment as reason for the layoffs.

"It’s the most difficult position the board’s been in for 25 years," Walls said. "Every person affected is a quality person."

Board members eliminated three administrative positions and seven teaching positions with individual votes, but did not comment during the meeting. In a prepared statement afterward, the board said it "deeply regrets" the action.

"The board of education looks forward to brighter times and hopes that the state funding situation is resolved in a manner that will allow the priority funding to vocational schools that will allow us to better prepare our young people for their futures."

About 27 teachers attended Monday’s meeting, to show support for those laid off and express concern about the "interruption of student learning."

Also in a prepared statement, the teachers said they were unaware the school was in financial hardship "until the Collins Career Center Board’s contract proposal of Oct. 22 to the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School Teacher’s Association. Less disruption for students and teachers would have occurred had these positions not been filled at the beginning of the school year."

Although the teachers are currently working without a new contract, the primary concern is to work cooperatively to resolve this situation, the teachers’ statement said.

In its statement, the board called the last couple of school funding years difficult because the method of funding vocational schools changed.

Each October, the district conducts a student count, which the state’s Department of Education uses to fund the district, the statement said. Collins Career Center lost 55 students for the 2001-2002 school year that resulted in a $331,000 state funding shortfall. The district also lost a career education grant.

The district reduced its travel expenses and some supplies, but the majority of expenditures are associated with personnel, which was unfortunately where other reductions had to be made, Walls said.

Some programs are being combined, some programs will be eliminated and other programs will be reviewed for cost savings, the board stated.

Walls added that he hoped the 10 layoffs would be the only staff reductions.

These are the official agenda items affecting employees that were approved by the board Monday night:

– Eliminating the marketing and placement position, and terminating the contract of the director, Louis Peake, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with the suspension of administrative contract board policy.

– Eliminating the grants writing position, and terminating the contract of C.J. Sellards, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with the suspension of administrative contract board policy.

– Eliminating the career education position, and terminating the contract of the director, Lauren Joseph, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with the suspension of administrative contract board policy.

– Eliminating one unit of GRADS, and terminating the contract of the teacher with least seniority, Linda Meyers, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Eliminating the work and family life teaching position, and terminating the contract of Linda Harrison, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Eliminating the science and intervention teaching position, and terminating the contract of Matthew Monteville, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Combining the two existing business education programs, and terminating the contract of the teacher with least seniority, Kim Holliday, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Combining the two existing carpentry programs, and terminating the contract of the teacher with least seniority, Alan Butcher, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Combining the two existing marketing education programs, and terminating the contract of the teacher with least seniority, Amy McCloud, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC and the local teachers contract.

– Combining the existing program of child care and care for the elderly into a child care program only, and terminating the contract of the teacher with least seniority, Susan Helo, effective Nov. 26, in accordance with ORC the local teachers contract.

The board also voted to authorize Bob Cross of Cross Management to negotiate the effects of the workforce reductions with the teachers association.