CROSBY -- Three more teachers in the Crosby-Ironton School District will be affected by reductions the school board is making for the 2003-04 school year.
The Crosby-Ironton School Board agreed Monday to reduce the contracts for the following teachers:
David Niemi, high school social studies teacher, and Mary Roberts, elementary art teacher, were placed on .2 full-time equivalent unrequested leave of absence. Niemi and Roberts will work five days a week, but will work only 80 percent of their regular day.
By a 5-1 vote, Bruce Femling, junior high band director, was placed on .6 FTE unrequested leave of absence. Femling would work two days a week. School board member Scott Kile voted against the reduction for Femling.
The district has to make cuts to its budget since it was declared in statutory operating debt when its general fund balance at the end of June 30, 2001, was $567,713 in the red. The school board agreed last month to cut 25 people whose contracts were not renewed or who were put on unrequested leave of absence. Cutting these positions and reducing the three positions will save the district about $954,000.
Femling said this morning in an interview he cannot believe his position has been reduced.
"This is really hurting me bad," he said. "I'm feeling depressed and upset and extremely confused that I wasn't allowed to finish on a high note of directing fantastic bands up to my retirement.
"I didn't want to go out struggling to maintain my sanity. I didn't want to be forced out of a profession that I am so passionate about."
Femling said he has 31 years of experience in directing band. Of those 31 years, 13 have been in the Crosby-Ironton School District. Femling said the other choir directors and general music education people have more seniority and that is why his hours were reduced.
The school district has made its reductions in positions based on seniority.
Femling said the decision to reduce his hours will affect his retirement. If he would continue full time he could retire in 2 1/2 years, but now with the reduction he will not be able to retire for six years.
Crosby-Ironton School Board member Carol Anne Hales said this morning the cuts are not an easy thing to do. She said these three teachers, as well as the teachers cut last month, are hurting.
Hales said the school board does not have a choice on the people to cut since it is based on seniority. She said it is not a matter of these teachers not doing a good job.
"It's a heartbreaker," said Hales about the cuts. "But we have our hands tied by the contracts."
Hales said by being in statutory operating debt, the school board must abide by its plan to get out of debt.
Crosby-Ironton Business Manager Bill Tollefson said at this time there have been no teacher callbacks.
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