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Timberlane school board votes to reduce number of pink-slipped positions

Sunday News Correspondent

April 15. 2018 5:48AM

PLAISTOW — More than 30 teachers and other staffers in the Timberlane Regional School District who feared they would lose their jobs because of a budget shortfall will be returning next year after all.

At a special meeting Saturday morning, the school board voted to renew contracts for 21 employees who are part of the Timberlane Teachers’ Association and 10 who are members of the Timberlane Support Staff Union.

The board also unanimously approved Superintendent Dr. Earl Metzler’s list of contracts to renew for the majority of the district’s other staffers whose positions weren’t threatened by potential layoffs.

“It was a real joint effort by the seven members of the board that were there. I was very happy with the progress. It was about doing the right thing for the kids,” board Chairman Susan Sherman said.

The district’s staff has faced uncertainty in recent weeks after Metzler announced that more than 50 staff positions could be eliminated after voters rejected the proposed $72.8 million school budget for next year, opting instead for a default budget of $71.9 million.

Metzler described the default budget as significantly underfunded.

“It was a great day for Timberlane,” Metzler said after Saturday’s vote.

On Wednesday evening, Mezler called police to have a small group of student demonstrators upset over the proposed cuts removed from school administrative offices — a move criticized by some in the community.
School officials plan to continue crunching numbers to see if they can find money in the budget to bring back more teachers and other staff members whose contracts haven’t been renewed.

The school board agreed Saturday to direct Metzler to work with the board and the school district’s business manager to reduce the total number of non-renewed positions to no more than 15 if possible.

“The work isn’t over,” Sherman said.

The Timberlane Teachers’ Association expressed optimism following the board’s vote.

“This appears to be a step in the right direction,” union President Ryan Richman and Vice President Jennifer Toth said in a joint statement.

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