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DPS Board Delays Decision On Layoffs, Reassignments

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April Laissle
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Hundreds of parents, teachers and teacher's aides packed into a Dayton School Board meeting last night. They came expecting to hear more about the district’s plans to cut or reassign aides and other operations staff members. But after keeping the crowd waiting for nearly two hours, board officials decided to postpone an official vote on the matter. 
 

The standing-room only crowd of around 300 people booed and chanted in frustration, shouting “come on out, come on out,” as the board's private executive session extended into the night.

Finally, board members returned to face the public, but with news that only added to the evening’s confusion.

School Board Member John McManus emerged from a back room and addressed the crowd.  

“As you can see," he said, "there will be no vote tonight. There will be no vote tonight on further layoffs.” 

The new delay means more uncertainty for employees who have been waiting for information about job changes.

The district first announced plans to make cuts last month, blaming what they called an “unexpected” decline in enrollment. Shortly after the announcement, 19 administrative staff members were laid off and 26 teachers were given the option to be reassigned or cut. In the end, only three accepted layoff packages.

Teacher's aides are the latest employees of Dayton Public Schools to face reorganization this fall. In recent weeks,  dozens of aides were notified they’d either be reassigned or laid off.

Louise Troy Elementary kindergarten aide Taiesha Green is one of them. She said she was given the option to work as a bus aide, or to work with children who have learning disabilities at Westwood Elementary, positions she said she was not trained for.

Green said the reassignment process has been confusing and unfair.

"Now, I'm going to a job I have no knowledge of. I'm not even sure what I'm going to be doing in the classroom. I don't even know what my job title is anymore," she said.

Green was set to begin her new job at Westwood Elementary on Monday, but last night’s delayed vote put her in limbo. Because the school board won’t make a final decision on staffing changes until at least December 6th, Green and other fellow aides who opted for reassignment will remain in their current positions until further notice.

Green said she’s frustrated, but she’s at the mercy of the district. 

“I was happy where I was at. But at the same time, I have children. I’m a single mom. I need a job. It’s either be unemployed or just take what they are going to give you.”

School board members defended their decision to delay last night’s vote, saying they needed the extra time to weigh their options.