School board approves layoffs of 31 teachers in district


A “sad day” and a decision that has “not been taken lightly” were cited by Board of Education members regarding the layoffs of 31 Rome school district teachers.

The layoffs, in relation to spending cuts needed to help balance the school district’s 2019-20 budget, were approved by the board Thursday night.

Added to a previous list of 30 teachers to be laid off was Staley special education teacher Bridget McDaniel.

Among other personnel-related items at the meeting, the board approved more than 150 summer school staff appointments for approximately two-month terms, accepted the retirements of two teachers, and noted several staff resignations in various categories.

• For the teacher layoffs, effective June 30, board President Paul Fitzpatrick called it a “sad day when we have to lay off anyone...especially this many.”

Hopefully the school district may be able to get laid-off teachers back at some point, Fitzpatrick added. The affected employees are put on a preferred eligibility list for seven years, and if a position becomes open in their job category they would have an opportunity to claim it back, district Superintendent Peter C. Blake explained after the meeting; most of the job category parameters are relatively broad, such as a regular elementary teacher having opportunities to return at any elementary grade level, he added.

The decision has “not been taken lightly,” said board Vice President Stephen Hampe, adding it is not easy “for me or any of my colleagues.” It is “an unfair reality” and “what we have to do,” he remarked.

• Summer school staff appointment categories included 24 special education teachers; 68 special education teacher assistants; 23 teacher substitutes; 23 teacher assistant substitutes; six teachers and seven teacher assistants in the Forever Growing pre-school special education program; plus smaller numbers of appointments for nurse, clerical and feed program positions.

The appointments are for a period from July 1 through
Aug. 9.

• The board accepted with regret the retirements of Rome Free Academy teacher Karen Sullivan and Gansevoort Elementary School teacher Tracey Kirch, both effective June 30.

They “surely will be missed,” Fitzpatrick said.

• Among resignations and their effective dates as noted on the agenda were Staley Elementary School music teacher Shannon Proctor and Staley speech teacher Emily Kraeger, both June 30; Rome Free Academy math teacher Kayla Foster, Sept. 1; Staley school counselor Stephanie Gordon, June 30; district information security analyst Bryan Rondeau, June 10; Early Childhood Program teacher assistant Tiffany Taylor, June 26; Staley teacher assistant Amber Sexton, Aug. 15.


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