Six educational support staff members were honorably dismissed by the SD308 Board of Education at its meeting at Oswego East High School on Monday evening, two weeks after 36 district teachers were similarly dismissed.
The dismissals are part of the board's continuing effort to lower the district's operational costs. Earlier this year, the board approved more than $7 million in fee increases, cuts and other budget changes to try and lower a projected $3 million deficit for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. If no changes were approved, district officials had estimated the budget deficit would grow annually to $8.8 million for the 2022-23 school year.
At the board's March 19 meeting, 36 teachers were honorably dismissed. During that meeting, Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin said, "Decisions such as the ones being made this evening are never easy; they're not taken lightly, but they're unfortunately necessary. The teachers we're releasing tonight have dedicated themselves to the district and to our students."
At Monday's meeting, two dean's assistants from Oswego High School, and four teacher assistants from Southbury Elementary School, Brokaw Early Learning Center, Grande Park Elementary School and Churchill Elementary School, respectively, were dismissed. The reduction of two dean's assistants positions was approved by the board at its Feb. 12 meeting as part of the district's budget cut plan - though the original approval was to eliminate one dean's assistant from both Oswego High School and Oswego East High School. The move was expected to create $70,000 in savings for the district and was passed with a vote of 4-3.
At the Feb. 12 meeting, the board also voted unanimously to remove three teacher assistant positions at the elementary level, due to an anticipated decrease in enrollment. According to the district's projections, the elimination of the three positions would create $105,000 in additional savings.
As with the teachers dismissed in March, the six employees' classification of honorable dismissal means that they are eligible to be rehired by the district when positions become available.
Board secretary Jared Ploger was the lone vote against the six dismissals. Board President Brad Banks was not present at the meeting.
In other business, the district approved a one-year contract for Elizabeth Caparelli-Ruff to serve as special education coordinator at the district level at a base salary of $90,000. The board also approved the appointment of Tyler S. Haymond to serve as the new principal at Plank Junior High School with a base salary of $88,000. Haymond will replace current principal James Martin who will retire at the end of the current school year.