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Symmes Valley lays off three

Funding cuts cited as reason


AID TOWNSHIP — The Symmes Valley Board of Education Monday night laid off three employees in an effort to balance the budget.

The three employees are teacher’s aide Viola Davis; director of instruction and federal programs Nelrose Coffman and transportation director Jeff Dial. According to the resolution, Davis was being let go May 25 because she was the “least senior” among aides. The resolution to suspend the contracts of Coffman and Dial stated the layoffs were tied to finances.

The votes on the layoffs were not unanimous. Board members Kent Wells and Hope Rowe voted against the layoffs; fellow members Chris Thompson, Tommy Shepherd, and Steve Brown voted for the changes. None of the board members wanted to discuss the matter after the board meeting.

Superintendent Jeff Saunders said the cuts, though painful, were necessary.

“The board feels, at this time, they needed to do something. They can’t just sit back and do nothing. Spending has been in decline for several years,” Saunders said.

Saunders said the district is losing $330,000 in EdJobs money — the EdJobs grant was part of the federal stimulus package from a few years ago that was actually meant to prevent job loss.

State and federal funding has been dwindling for years and expenditures for the district have exceeded revenues. Carryovers and federal stimulus money have kept the district in the black in recent years but Saunders said eventually, cuts had to be made.

Still, he said, “It’s never good when you lose people who have dedicated so much time and effort. All three were dedicated employees.”

Saunders said four teachers are retiring this year but must be replaced. However, financially speaking, this will help the district in that four newer teachers making less money will replace teachers who were at or near the top of the pay scale.

Saunders said he hoped state and federal lawmakers will come to understand the financial problems local schools districts are facing and do something to correct the situation.

Coffman has been a Symmes Valley employee more than 20 years, Dial nearly 10 years. Saunders said he is not sure how long Davis has been employed with the district.