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

Local News

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The Centerville School Board voted Monday night to cut 18.5 teaching positions, nearly half of them in special education. Parents are now criticizing the move.

Of the 18 full time teachers and one part time position impacted, nine of them are special education intervention specialists. Parents of special education students wrote letters to the board, and they said a handful of them were read Monday night, expressing their concerns before the vote.

It passed with a 4-1 vote.

Centerville Schools told 2 NEWS partly in a statement, “We 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.”

But parents like Denise Green and Mike Pineau said they’re concerned for their kids’ safety and education.

“My daughter had one teacher and two paraprofessionals and there were eight students,” said Green. “Now they’re talking about one teacher teaching 12 students.”

Green and Pineau said their children’s teacher is replacing an elementary teacher whose position was terminated. Now their class, which has been together since the third grade, will get split up.

“They designed this program for our children and now they want to take it away,” said Green.

Pineau said his son, Jared, who was diagnosed with autism and is nonverbal, will be placed in a group with a wider range of developmental abilities and feels he won’t get the quality of education he was getting.

“Now they’re moving my son, which fits sort of in the middle as far as functioning and understanding, and definitely needs more one-on-one interactions with the teachers and the aides,” said Pineau.

The cuts came as part of the district’s plan to overcome a nearly $1.4 million budget shortfall.

The parents said they know cuts had to be made, but feel they disproportionately affected the special needs students.

“It was close to 44 percent of the cuts that were made to the special education program and they don’t encompass 44 percent of the population,” said Pineau.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Henderson said the teachers who are being cut will remain on a recall list for three years.

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