Sandusky teachers in jeopardy given notice

SANDUSKY The cuts now have names. The Sandusky teachers whose positions are in jeopar
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

The cuts now have names.

The Sandusky teachers whose positions are in jeopardy have received layoff notifications.

Recommended cuts in the music department -- the hardest hit -- are Scott Nave, Jackson Junior High music teacher; Adam Reardon, Jackson Junior High and Sandusky High School band director; and Arlene Strohl, music teacher at Mills and Hancock elementary schools.

Cuts are also recommended for English, science, social studies and kindergarten positions, among others.

Superintendent Bill Pahl is recommending 13.5 teaching positions to be cut, however, only nine teachers have been notified because four are filling jobs in the district left open by resignations.

The board of education won't vote on the recommendations, -- prompted by May's failed levy -- until the June 29 board meeting.

Brian Nitschke, Sandusky Education Association president and high school orchestra director, said the proposed cuts will have a noticeable effect.

"There will be some obvious immediate changes in what you will see in the music department if the board approves the superintendent's recommendations," Nitschke said. "One of the most obvious is that there will no longer be fourth- and fifth-grade strings. The long-term affect is that within several years the quality of the high school orchestra will go down because they will have two fewer years."

Peggy Elchert's daughter Kate is a member of the marching band and symphonic orchestra. As a parent, she is concerned the music program will not continue to maintain its reputation.

"My impression is that so many of these young students start at the fourth-grade level. By the time they have reached the high school level, they have blossomed into young artists," she said. "I believe the music staff is superior, unlike a lot of schools."

Elchert said her other two children attended a school whose music program paled in comparison to Sandusky's.

"Kate is the most fortunate of the three because she has been in the Sandusky school system and she is the one who has benefited the most," Elchert said. "We would certainly hate to lose any of the teachers on the roster.

Pahl said if the cuts are approved, he is confident the music program will remain high quality.

"We have a tremendous music program; I don't think it will have any impact at all," Pahl said. "We've gone through the schedule program and it's not going to miss a beat other than the fourth- and fifth-grade strings. We were way overstaffed in the music department; that's the one area that has never been cut and there was room to move."

Pahl said the district needs to cut $1 million dollars from next year's budget, with staff costs being the majority of the district's budget. The 13.5 recommended cuts will increase next year if the district's levy continues to fail.

"If this levy doesn't pass in November, drastic cuts will have made," he said.

Teachers who have received notice of being placed on layoff status:

* Kelly Ballah -- Reading First tutor, Venice Elementary

* Robert Burch -- Title II-A, Adams Junior High

* Amanda Clark -- Art, Hancock Elementary and Mills Elementary

* Erich Fahr -- Reading First tutor, Ontario Elementary

* Scott Nave -- Music, Jackson Junior High

* Adam Reardon -- Band Director, Jackson Junior High and Sandusky High School

* Lorna Robbins -- Reading First tutor, Madison Elementary

* Arlene Strohl -- Music, Mills Elementary and Hancock Elementary

* Virginia Zahniser -- Title I tutor, Hancock Elementary

Only the nine who may no longer be working in the district were given notification.