Seven full-time teaching positions will be terminated and one full-time position will be reduced to a half-time position at the Carrier Mills-Stonefort schools. These terminations will affect both the middle and high school teaching staff.
Nearly two dozen middle and high school teachers attended the meeting in a show of solidarity and support for all the teachers.
Citing state budget cuts affecting the states school systems, Superintendent Richard Morgan stated that this course of action is not one that the board enjoyed. Faced with cuts in the areas of General State Aid and Transportation amounting to $619,708 per year compared to three years ago, along with cuts to special education funding, pre-K grants, title I and II grants and drivers education funding, the board had no alternative to making these staff reductions. Morgan said that these actions are no reflection on the quality of the teachers.
“Some excellent teachers have been cut because of Governor Quinn’s budget,” Morgan said.
“It’s a sad day for the Carrier Mills-Stonefort schools,” said Randy Doty, board president.
In the entire school system, the number students in classes will be increased as sections are reduced from two to one. This means instead of having, for example, two fifth grade classes the students will merge into one class. In the middle school, only seventh and eighth grade students will receive instruction in art from Troy Mayberry, the art instructor, while the lower grades will be taught art by their classroom teachers.
“It’s been very beneficial for the students to have smaller class sizes,” said Teneka Betz, a first grade teacher and local teacher’s union president adding, “I guess that’s a thing of the past.
“The smaller class size allowed teachers to spend more time with each student than is possible in larger classes,” Betz said adding “We are all very sad about this.”
“This has been a heart and gut wrenching experience for us.” said Beth Thomason, board member. “Everyone needs to contact their elected officials and the Governor to express their unhappiness about the budget crisis.
“The teachers affected have our deepest sympathy, this is not anything we wanted to do.”
Board member Georgia Cowger expressed her displeasure about the decision saying, “These are good people, good teachers we are losing.”
Morgan stated that the names of the teachers affected will be released in several days, saying “The whole board is sick to their stomachs about this; it’s a sad, sad day.”