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15 teaching positions eliminated in Niles



Published: Wed, June 13, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Jordan Cohen

news@vindy.com

NILES

The city board of education, which last month deadlocked on a proposal to eliminate 15 teaching positions, approved the issue Tuesday by a 3-2 vote.

Without the layoffs, the board faced a deficit in excess of $1.3 million and could eventually have been forced into fiscal emergency and a state takeover, according to Superintendent Mark Robinson.

The decision will cost 11 teachers, one of them a part-time employee, their jobs. The remaining four positions, which became vacant due to retirements, will not be filled.

Richard Limongi, the board member whose abstention in the earlier vote led to a 2-2 deadlock, cast his vote in favor of the layoffs Tuesday. Joining Limongi in voting for the layoffs were Eric Lanham and Tony Perrone. Voting against the layoffs were board members Christopher Doutt and Susan Longacre.

Limongi said he abstained from the first vote because his wife and sister-in-law are teachers. However, Limongi said he changed his vote after consulting with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

“They told me that I could cast my vote because neither of the two are among those affected by the [reduction in force],” Limongi said. “This is not something I want to do, but as an elected official I have a fiduciary responsibility.”

Last month, the board voted 3-2 to lay off 19 non-teaching employees. Doutt and Longacre voted no. Longacre revealed after the May meeting that her husband was among the classified workers losing their jobs.

The special meeting at Niles Middle School was packed with more than 160 teachers and classified workers. The teachers, many of whom wore black to display their “sadness and disappointment” about the vote, did not speak during the meeting, but representatives of Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 365, the classified workers’ union, did.

“Sacrifice should be shared in every way possible,” said Debbie Simini, local president.

As the board prepared to vote, teachers arose in unison and held signs with the names of their co-workers about to be laid off. Chad Ries, a teacher and spokesman for the teachers union, the Niles Education Association, said he felt there was no point in addressing the board because “nothing else needs to be said.”

The union and board have been having intermittent contract negotiations as a previous agreement, which expired last August, remains in effect. Ries was asked if the layoffs might impact contract negotiations.

“I don’t know how that will play out, but I do know we want to continue negotiations,” Ries said.

Unlike the teachers, the classified employees had agreed to a new package with significant concessions last November, but because of what Robinson referred to as “a me-too clause” in the OAPSE contract, the concessions have not been enacted. “If the teachers settle with a better plan, [the OAPSE contract] has to match it,” Robinson said.

Despite the layoffs, the board must still eliminate a $289,000 deficit, and the superintendent said one of the biggest obstacles is health-insurance costs.

“We spend $3.8 million in health care every year, and we need to come to some kind of conclusion about that,” Robinson said, adding that he hopes to “have something in place by fall.”

The superintendent said that he and a board team are looking at several options including a levy. He indicated he expects more discussion about those options at the board’s next meeting June 27.


Comments

1grand4dad(197 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Shame on this board. They didn't seem to have a care in the world about the financial situation when they gave the new superintendent such a lucrative contract with all the sweeteners included. Really disgusting. As usual the sacrifice is expected to be made by the little guys while the fat cats continue to rake in the money.

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2peacelover(791 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

If we had universal health care in this country, issue like this would be non-existent.

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3Realist(62 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

grand4dad,

Out of a $24,000,000 budget, the Superintendent compensation makes up for less than 1% of those expenses. The Superintendent makes the most money because they have to make the TOUGH decisions (Usually always unpopular but necessary). Also, I would bet that a lot of teachers make very close to what the supt. makes on a daily basis.

You really think a majority of those teachers would have voted for a pay reduction or even a total salary freeze if they had the chance? Absolutely not, it is much easier for those members (who still have jobs) to hold up a sign to show their support rather than make a real sacrifice in the monetary form. The unions contracts are a big reason why many schools are in such financial trouble, this and the continued cuts in funding from the state.

Don't focus the blame on your administration or board members, they are only playing the cards that they are dealt. Talk to your local politicians they are the ones that are switching the burden of funding education from a state level to a local level in the form of property taxes. Why do you think so many levies have been on the ballot the last 5 years?

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4DwightK(1304 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It's time to realize that the real issue here is a reduction in revenue caused by unemployment and under employment. Taxation rates are just fine, it's just that taxpayers don't make the money they used to.

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5DwightK(1304 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

gdog, we bicker and fight over who makes too much money when we should be looking at our elected leaders and asking them what they are doing to entice good paying jobs to the area. This private sector vs public sector arguing is just keeping us distracted from the poor leadership in Columbus and Washington. It's easier to get us to argue with one another than it is to hold leaders accountable for their horrible job performance.

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6southsidedave(4856 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Agreed, the United States needs universal health care instead of being the World's policeman...all the money and human lives wasted in Iraq & Afghanistan.

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7sam_carter(95 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

A good national health care insurance, not this butchered one by the republicans, cost peanuts compared to that wasted effort in iraq and afganistan.

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8sam_carter(95 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

tc my friend, ive worked since i was 14, never been on unemployment or welfare. Never took a dime from the govt. You need not insult me or anybody like that.
We spend 16 X more than the rest of the world combined on defense. Maybe if we spent only 15 X, there would be plenty to cover things in THIS country, like the infrastructure that is old and caving in.
If the health care has been constitutional in Massachusetts since Romney implemented there, how is it not now?

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9sam_carter(95 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

As much as i want to banter with you tc, i gotta go to sleep now. Get up early for work....

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10doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I love the fact that most of the miserable morons on here always complaining about their taxes are old dudes that used all the public resources they could when their kids were in school -- and even still with their social security and medicare -- now that it's their turn to pay some taxes for things that they don't really use they whine like little kids. They are from a generation that is nothing but soft. The men before them would be embarrased how their sons turned out. Hopefully their sons and grandsons will be better able to deal with a little adversity without screaming about everything in the world being unfair. ....your fathers were awesome forces of nature, but you guys are baby booming losers.

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11Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

DwigDwightK and gdog. I am with you guys on this one.

Folks are focusing on all the symptoms. The country is in debt. Debt holders are doing well
while everything else goes down the toilet including our standard of living .

Cuts and concessions are not going to fix a seriously bankrupted country. What will be on the chopping block next time?

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12Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

grand4dad,

"Out of a $24,000,000 budget, the Superintendent compensation makes up for less than 1% of those expenses. The Superintendent makes the most money because they have to make the TOUGH decisions (Usually always unpopular but necessary)."

- - -One percent- - -Sure that is how the game is played it is easy enough to reward one person and screw the many.Make tough decisions ? It is tougher to get the ax than to swing it and get more money to boot.

Supers do not teach. In some circles one would wonder just what they do?Trips to Columbus , coffee drinking , walking around with radios looking important .ECT I guess hemorrhoids are a possible side effect.

Meanwhile the grunts are in the classrooms .

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