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Parents swamp Dry Creek board meeting over layoffs

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein
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Fallout over layoffs in the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District continued Thursday, with dozens of parents turning out at a special board meeting to express their displeasure with the criteria has left several longtime and popular teachers without jobs next school year. As first reported in The Press-Tribune, the board approved layoff notices earlier this month to plug a $1.3 million financial hole. In the criteria for who would receive the pink slips, the board allowed possession of a type credential authorizing teachers to instruct English learners to trump straight seniority. Some longer-serving teachers do not have the credential, called Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development, or CLAD, and received the notices. Speakers, many members of the Quail Glen Elementary School community, took to the microphone during public comment to ask board members to reconsider the layoffs. Many questioned the reasons behind the criteria, speculating that the district may have had a financial reason as the non-CLAD certified teachers are generally higher on the wage scale. I find it a little incongruous that, if you're really trying to meet the needs of students, these criteria penalize our best, most experienced teachers, Tom Carlson, a parent of two children in the district, told trustees. Board members did not comment or take action on the issue, which was not on the agenda for the board's open session. Please know this, we really do take the community's trust very seriously, clerk Ryan Darke told the audience before adjourning the meeting. Superintendent Mark Geyer said 14 of 32 initial layoff notices had been rescinded. Board members have defended their criteria by saying the certification is a requirement to teach in the district and that teachers were given ample time to receive it. For the complete story, see an upcoming issue of The Press-Tribune For previous reporting on the Dry Creek layoff notices, click here. Reach Nathan Donato-Weinstein at nathand@goldcountrymedia.com.