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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Teachers cut from Carrier Mills-Stonefort

  • The Carrier Mills-Stonefort school board honorably dismissed three teachers, opted to not renew the contract of the home economics instructor and reduced two more teachers to part-time status at a special meeting Monday night.
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  • The Carrier Mills-Stonefort school board honorably dismissed three teachers, opted to not renew the contract of the home economics instructor and reduced two more teachers to part-time status at a special meeting Monday night.
    In a public hearing before the special call meeting the board and a large audience of teachers heard from Superintendent Richard Morgan an explanation of the financial problems the school is experiencing. Repeatedly citing failure of the state to provide the levels of funding promised to the district, Morgan stated that education and transportation funding had been particularly hard hit.
    “Last year the lack of adequate funding got so bad we had to look at ways to stop the bleeding.” Morgan said, in reference to the previous round of staff cuts last year.
    The transport funding problem caused the district to cut one bus route last year and Morgan stated that another route may have to be cut this year. The shortages in education funding forced the board to make some difficult decisions.
    “Where to cut? What can we squeeze together? Can we afford to offer all that we offer now? The board is facing some tough choices.” Morgan stated, adding “At some point the state has to do something. Has to do something!”
    Board president John Whiting then opened the floor to public comment. Chris Moiser, parent of a district student asked about the figures on the decline in enrollment from 2011 to 2014. Morgan has previously cited the loss of state funding caused by lower numbers of students attending school in the district as a factor in financial difficulties. Whiting responded to Moiser's question by saying that this was a public comment forum, not a question and answer session.
    Moiser then asked if there was a financial incentive in consolidating with the Harrisburg school district. Mentioning the discussions initiated last year by Harrisburg on that topic, Moiser wondered if such a consolidation provide enough additional state funding to justify this option. Whiting again responded that this was a public comment meeting and declined to answer Moiser's question. There were no further comments and Whiting closed the public hearing.
    The special call meeting was called to order and the board immediately moved into closed session to consider the action items on the agenda dealing with honorable dismissal and non-renewal of contracts of instructors. The board remained in closed session for over two hours, then returned to take formal voting action on instructor terminations.
    In a series of unanimous votes the board approved the following actions:
    • Honorable dismissal of Sheri Moiser, fifth grade teacher and sixth grade social studies and Science teacher.
    • Honorable dismissal of Troy Mayberry, art teacher.
    • Honorable dismissal of Ashley Allbriton, physical education and health education teacher.
    • Reduction of Daryl Varbel, music teacher from full time to part time.
    • Reduction of Christina Couty, high school and elementary school math teacher from full time to part time.
    • Non-renewal of employment of Lisa Davison, high school home economics teacher. Board president Whiting commented that the state had forced the board to make some painful and difficult decisions. These dismissals will take place in the 2014-2015 school year and all of the teachers would finish this school year in their current position and work schedule.
    Page 2 of 2 - The board then adjourned the meeting.
    Speaking to the Daily Register after the meeting Morgan stated that the district had enough staff to fill in teaching fifth grade even if it meant using several teachers to cover the class. Morgan further said that depending on state funding, he hoped to be able to hire a new home economics teacher for next year. Art instruction would continue in the elementary school next year with the teachers providing instruction and would be discontinued in the high school.
    Morgan said the cuts will not necessarily result in a balanced budget.
    “Perhaps we should have made more cuts but the board really didn't want to cut programs altogether. We have to wait and see what the state will do next year,” Morgan said.
     

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