Archived Story

Cassopolis BOE votes to layoff custodial staff

Published 4:45pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In an emotional meeting, the Cassopolis Board of Education voted to eliminate several positions, including its custodial staff, at a special meeting Monday night at Squires Education Center.

Five members of the community or school employees spoke before the board and pleaded with them not to eliminate those positions. The theme of their comments was that these employees are there for the children every day and help mentor them throughout their high school careers.

The board voted 5-1 to eliminate the dispatcher/relief driver position, layoff the dispatcher/relief driver and lay off all custodial staff. Sue Horstmann, who was very vocal in her believes that this was not the right decision, voted against all three motions.

Board member Lori Whitmyer was absent.

The vote to layoff the custodial staff was needed due to a clause in their contract that there must be a 10-day notification. Cassopolis Superintendent Tracy Hertsel was scheduled to hold negotiations Tuesday and Thursday with the staff to see if some sort of an agreement could be reached, much like the one that was reached with assistant principal Hiawatha Francisco, to keep the staff and still save the district money.

Cassopolis is looking at hiring a private firm to handle the custodial duties.

The Board of Education did remove two items from the agenda — the elimination, reducation and/or realignment of clerical positions and the layoff of one clerical staff.

Hertsel also notified the board that Saturday there will be a community work day at Sam Adams Elementary to begin removal of the old bleachers from the gymnasium.

Work will begin at 8 a.m. The district approved the installation of new bleachers at its May 13 regular meeting.

The money for the bleachers would come from the remainder of the bond funds. By removing the bleachers themselves and taking the metal to sell for scrap, the district is saving additional money.

Hertsel said he is looking for community volunteers to help complete the project so that new bleachers could be installed later this summer.

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