Austintown Local Schools lays off 16 teachers


AUSTINTOWN

Some of the 16 Austintown schools teachers recently laid off were part of the district’s agreement with the teachers union and based on projected declines in enrollment and revenues.

Superintendent Vince Colaluca said Thursday he’s never seen a larger reduction in force at one time in his 10 years heading the district.

He said the school board’s recent decision to discontinue a long-standing instructional coach program, through which senior faculty members help their juniors to better teach the district’s curriculum, caused seven newer teachers to be bumped out of their spots.

The 16 low-seniority teachers total left without a job after the April 10 meeting – two of whom are husband and wife – have rights to any district positions that open up in the next three years, Colaluca said.

“My heart goes out to these folks,” he said. “It’s tough enough to get a teaching job. ... This is not a reflection on anybody’s abilities to do their jobs – it’s basically the lowest-seniority person in the teaching area.

“I told every one of them if there’s a job out there, I will personally call to that superintendent.”

The board also chose not to renew contracts for seven long-term substitute teachers and 27 supplemental staff members during that meeting, Colaluca said. Staff members’ wages get a percentage bump for each supplemental staff member lost, he said.

Administrators structured the reduction in the union’s collective bargaining agreement around projected declines in enrollment and revenue which is partially related to the loss of the nearby General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex, Colaluca said.

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