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Published: Wednesday, 10/1/2003

TPS OKs layoffs for 102 staff, teachers

The Toledo Board of Education last night approved the layoff of 69 teachers and 33 non-instructional staff members during its first regular meeting of the school year.

The layoffs, effective Aug. 25, are part of the district's cost-cutting measures, said Clinton Faulkner, the district's executive assistant to the superintendent for human resources.

In June, the board said it would eliminate 230 teaching positions. Last night's layoffs are the first from the projected 230.

Some of the teachers who lost their jobs were retained as full-time substitutes, Mr. Faulkner said, but he could not provide an exact figure last night.

Mr. Faulkner could not say how much the district would save as a result of the layoffs.

Nearly all the non-teaching staff laid off are bus drivers and food-service workers.

Superintendent Eugene Sanders said the teachers were full-time substitutes who had been brought under the district's regular teaching contract.

The board has been looking for ways to reduce costs. A 6.5-mill levy renewal failed in August and is on the ballot again in November.

District officials have said that without the levy, about $16 million would have to be cut, and more teacher layoffs, cuts to transportation, and school closures may be necessary.

The board heard a barrage last night from parents who demanded bus service for their children who attend charter schools or who live in the former Adams Township in the city's south end.

Students who live in the former Adams Township had been bused to schools, but the district discontinued the practice this year.

“Apparently, when Adams Township was annexed into Toledo, the Board of Education said we would keep busing for the area,” said Peter Silverman, board president. “With our budget cuts, we put them on the same policy as everyone else: that we'd only bus for students living over a mile away” from their school.

Holly Yeager of 804 Vanderbilt Rd. said the board was reneging on its promise to provide the bus service. She said the area is not safe for young children to walk to school because of crime, and she pointed to several adult businesses, including three adult bookstores in the area, that attract unsavory people.

“Yellow bus service is not a convenience but a safety issue,” Ms. Yeager said.

Coincidentally, on last night's agenda was a resolution declaring it impractical for the district to provide busing for students attending selected private and charter schools. Included in the resolution was the George A. Phillips Academy, 3648 Victory Ave. Several parents with children at that school pleaded with the board to provide bus service.

Dorothy Burton of 2640 Christie St., who sends one of her children to the school, said the board has a legal obligation to provide busing for charter school students.

“Our concern is for the safety of our children,” Ms. Burton said. “This academy has concerned parents and are in dismay of the inadequate stand that TPS has taken against our school.”

Mr. Silverman directed the superintendent to prepare a report on the issue.

In other action, the board authorized Dan Burns, the district's chief business manager, to negotiate with Allied Toledo Architects, to conduct architectural work on the second phase of the district's $821 million, 10-year construction project.

Eleven buildings are included in the second phase, Mr. Burns said. There are six phases of the project that eventually will replace nearly all schools in the district. Plans calls for replacing 69 buildings with seven renovated buildings and 57 new structures.

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