Spring Cove lays off three teachers

ROARING SPRING – Three Spring Cove School District teachers received furlough notices Tuesday, administrators and other teachers said, ending speculation on where next year’s planned budget cuts would strike.

The furloughed employees – two elementary teachers and a high school music teacher – are set to leave their jobs next week, at the school year’s end. Superintendent Robert Vadella informed them of the cuts in classroom visits Tuesday morning, Business Manager John Clark said.

“It’s kind of what we were expecting,” Spring Cove teachers’ union President John Fitzpatrick said. With two retiring teachers’ jobs set to remain open, the district will be down five teaching jobs next year, he said.

Budget proposals discussed in recent weeks included nonteaching cuts as well, with support employees among those to be furloughed. Some of those cuts were ultimately avoided, Clark said, leaving only teachers to be released for now.

Among those laid off Tuesday was Dustin Rainey, a Central High School music teacher and the school marching band’s director. Some of Rainey’s students, upset by the decision, left school early Tuesday, teachers and parents said.

“I’m sure there will be a large contingent of band parents and students present [at a board meeting] Thursday evening,” Clark said. “They have been a very supportive and active group.”

The others set to be laid off are an elementary classroom teacher and an elementary physical-education teacher, administrators said.

The furloughs are part of a sweeping budget plan, voted for preliminary approval May 20, that would close a $1 million-plus deficit, while revamping some school programs. Board members indirectly discussed the possibility of layoffs last week, but administrators asked that specific job cuts be left private until those affected could be informed.

Other concerns, including an ongoing plan to shuffle some administrators into new jobs, have yet to be resolved. Board members are considering a shift that would eliminate the current athletic director position, replacing it with a combined athletic director-dean of students.

Such a change – adding classroom discipline to the job description – could affect whether Athletic Director Chuck Gojmerac can continue in his job. Gojmerac could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Vadella did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

All the planned changes, including furloughs, are in district residents’ hands now, Fitzpatrick said, with a final budget due before July.

“It’s up to the community to start asking questions,” he said. “It depends on the public.”

A special school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.