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South Spencer teachers express concerns during school board meeting

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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SPENCER Co., Ind. (WFIE) - Dozens of teachers showed up to Monday night’s South Spencer School Board meeting.

They say teacher positions are being cut, and they feel they are not part of the process.

“This did catch me off guard very much so and the way it was presented. It was definitely a curveball,” Dr. Richard Rutherford, the Superintendent of South Spencer Schools said.

“If you say, ‘has this been brewing?’ I’m going to say, with the CTA, ‘yes.’ The main focal point here is that we are going down two teachers throughout the corporation, and that’s just due to enrollment, a decline in enrollment. With that comes tough decisions and sometimes tough decisions, the superintendent isn’t the good guy, but we do have to look at the future,” Superintendent Rutherford said.

A representative of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association spoke on behalf of all the teachers who showed up to the meeting. Veronica Hobbs says they feel they’re not being heard.

“We’ve lost over eight teachers since 2012, and we’re about to lose three more,” Hobbs stated. So, that’s taking out 11 teachers across the school district.”

The superintendent says class sizes will virtually stay the same, and these two positions that they’re eliminating, those teachers aren’t being fired or laid off, they’re actually just retiring, but they won’t fill those positions once they’re gone.

“We’ve looked at other numbers, we’ve looked at other corporations as well, we looked at class sizes, we looked at a lot of data to show where do we need, where do we don’t need. What we want to do and what we have been able to do is trim the fat per say,” Superintendent Rutherford explained.

Rutherford says the school corporation will be adding ten new positions, but those positions aren’t interchangeable with the teacher positions they’re eliminating.

“Still focused on the kids’ quality education, but if there’s areas that we just don’t need, we’re gonna trim that off and use our resources and put it to where we need those resources at,” Superintendent Rutherford shared.

The superintendent says on the 18th, he, the school board president, two representatives from the teachers association and a representative from the Indiana State Teachers Association will meet for mediation to discuss the claims that were filed against the school corporation.

We’ll keep following this story.

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