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School cuts 21 jobs

March 9, 2011
Kylie Saari — Staff Writer

FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area Schools board member Diane Gerhardt read the names of teachers and administrators slated to lose their jobs next year.

Each name was followed by a roll call vote from the school board, which placed each employee on "unrequested leave of absence."

The process took 20 minutes Tuesday, and 21 people lost their jobs.

The packed meeting room was silent as many of those named, along with family members and parents, witnessed the first of many budget cuts, all meant to reach a goal of $1.5 million in savings at Fairmont Area.

Before the proceedings, school board president Joe Kurtzman addressed the group.

"The school board regrets having to do this," he said.

After the layoffs, the board approved the retirements of school nurse Jane Kotewa and administrative assistant Sheila Artner.

Lastly, the board eliminated the position of director of curriculum and technology, a position held currently by Dave Paschke. He immediately was rehired as assistant high school principal/ director of technology.

Superintendent Joe Brown told the board that final action on the layoffs will be taken March 22. The reason for the delay is because tenured teachers have two weeks to request an appeal hearing before the school board.

State law requires the layoffs be officiated by April 1. After that, no tenured teacher can be cut for the following school year, although teachers can be hired back.

Brown said the school board took action on more cuts than originally planned, but noted some teachers could be recalled as early as the next several weeks.

Not all of the teachers laid off are losing their entire job. Mat Mahoney and Jake Tietje were placed on unrequested leave for half of their teaching positions. Brown said they will be hired back, Mahoney as part-time activities director and Tietje as assistant activities director.



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