Centerville parents protest cuts to school district’s special education department

Local News

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – On Friday, more than two dozen parents, students, and advocates protested after the Centerville school district cut nine special education teachers.

Parents said they understood the pandemic is causing issues for the budget, but were upset that 49 percent of the cuts came from special education programs. They’re now asking the district to reconsider for their children’s sake.

READ MORE: Centerville Schools cut 18.5 positions, special education parents criticize ‘disproportionate impact’

Shauna Davis’ son is an incoming eighth grader. She said they moved to the Centerville School District when he started kindergarten because of their special education program.

“But unfortunately that is changing and changing rapidly for us,” said Davis.

Friday, she joined about two dozen other special needs parents, advocates, and students protesting recent cuts to their department.

“I’m worried, and I’m just real worried about the other kids,” said special education student protesting, Ky Huff.

Last week, the school board voted to cut 18.5 teacher positions, nine of them from special education.

“Our teacher was cut out of our classroom and I thought that was all I was battling, to try and get our teacher back in,” said Davis. “Unfortunately, since then, I’ve learned that the program my son will go into after this year, in high school, has been eliminated, it’s been dissolved.”

The district claimed in a previous statement to 2 NEWS, “we have actually looked at all of our class sizes – both general and special education classes – as part of our review of staffing and enrollment as we plan for next school year. We will continue to support all of our students like we always have, and we will keep watching our enrollment throughout the summer to ensure we are appropriately staffed for next school year.”

The parents said the special needs students make up only 13 percent of the population but account for 49 percent of the teacher cuts.

“I wouldn’t come out here for myself to complain about anything, but my son’s education…When the school puts football and Chromebooks before special needs education, what’s the school here for?” said another special needs parent, John Davis.

They also said the district originally faced a $2.1 million deficit because of the pandemic, but that number has since changed to just $1.3 million.

Shauna Davis said multiple parents have sent letters to the board and are attempting a conference zoom call next week with the superintendent and student services director.

The Centerville School District Superintendent, Dr. Tom Henderson, told 2 NEWS previously, all teachers whose positions were cut would have recall rights.

“We’re hoping to have conversations, we’re hoping things will change,” said Davis. “We’ll see. If not, we’re really going to have to re-evaluate our time in Centerville.”

2 NEWS reached out to Centerville School District for comment on Friday, but had yet to hear back.

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