Brandywine lays off 17, reaches agreement with unionPublished 8:55am Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
The decision to layoff 17 of Brandywine Community Schools’ district teachers was approved Monday night by the Board of Education with a vote of 5 to 1.
Trustee Robb DeJonge was the solitary no vote and secretary of the board Dennis Hinsey was absent.
“Layoffs at this time of year are always uncertain when it comes to the final number of teachers who may be facing extended layoffs,” Superintendent John Jarpe clarified prior to the vote.
Certain factors, he said, including budget, retirements, insurance costs and even scheduling could have an affect on that number either increasing or decreasing with teacher recalls.
“It is certainly my hope to recall teachers from layoff,” he said. “I would like to accomplish that certainly by the end of the school year.”
But as Jarpe said himself, the future is uncertain. So far, he said, no teachers have submitted any plans for resignation or retirement. And with that, 17 teachers who were notified their positions would be laid off would find their fate sealed for the time being.
“I just have one thing to say,” board President Jim Curran said moments before the vote. “I wish we didn’t have to do this … unfortunately our funding is tied to the state.”
A motion was made to finalize the notification of layoff by trustee Mike Shelton and supported by trustee Janis Exner.
Layoffs came following a more than 20-minute closed session that resulted in an announcement by Jarpe that a tentative agreement had been reached in negotiations with the teachers’ union.
“Mr. David Brenneman, president of Brandywine District Education Association and I state that we have reached a tentative agreement on terms of the Master Agreement with the Board of Education and the association,” Jarpe said. “This agreement is for the balance of the contract term ending on June 30, 2011.
“We have negotiated in good faith since December 2009,” he continued. “Now the association membership and the board of education must consider the terms for ratification.”
As officials move toward ratification no specifics of the agreement would be disclosed, Jarpe said.
This is the first round of teacher layoffs to hit the Niles area. Niles Community Schools plans on announcing its plans for layoffs at a special meeting Wednesday morning.
Jarpe has said he hopes this to be the only round of teacher layoffs following severe state budget reductions in funding. What awaits districts in the future, however, remains to be seen.