What are we learning here?
The Summit County Education Association, the local teachers’ union, has thrown down the gauntlet and gone public with a no-confidence vote in the superintendent of schools.
We’re still digesting the sum total of the complaints but think we can make several observations.
It appears Dr. Lynn Spampinato is implementing reform in a hurry, which may be her greatest sin.
One of the complaints against her regards the cutting of 2.4 physical education teachers at the middle school.
This fall, voters will be asked to renew a special mill levy worth about $2 million a year to support maintenance and technology in the schools. If that vote were to be taken today, we think it fails.
If that holds true in the fall, the cutting of 2.4 teachers will look like a day in the park compared to the reductions in teaching staff that would come when programs are cut next November. Tenure doesn’t necessarily protect against budget cuts.
Furthermore, the SCEA contract is up this year. In the face of the turmoil and financial uncertainty, that has to be negotiated.
As long as we are playing the numbers game, consider the fact that if Spampinato is to be bought out of her contract, there goes another $200,000 or so.
And if that occurs, what happens next? Is the goal of changing the school system from good to excellent put aside in the favor of business as usual?
Every year that improvement is delayed we’ve done a disservice to our students.
The teachers have gone way out on a limb with their battle against Spampinato, unlike in previous years when they faced another superintendent who self-described himself as “autocratic” and not the best collaborative communicator.
The consequences they seek may not be all the ones they get. At this point, it seems all parties would benefit from a coming together rather than a split.
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