The Vernon Township Board of Education approved on Thursday night the reduction of hours for teacher’s aides throughout the district.
The measure passed 6-2. Board members Theresa Scura Coughlin and Kelly Mitchell voted against it.
Board of Education President Brad Sparta was absent due to a family emergency.
Several teacher’s aides came out Thursday night to the Vernon Township Board of Education meeting to question the reduction of positions and hours for the 2019-20 school year.
One teacher commented that she can’t run her classroom without aides and by reducing their hours, transition times are shortened between morning and afternoon aides.
“This is painful but it’s something that’s going to have to continue in light of the state aid decrease,” Superintendent Karen D’Avino said.
Most of the cuts seem to have been in Rolling Hills and Lounsberry Hollow schools, but D’Avino said the cuts were as equitable as they could be. However, she said the cuts keep the school district in compliance with state law.
“There are other districts that are not in compliance and not serving their students appropriately and I truly believe we are,” D’Avino said.
Another commenter said the reduction brings district’s aides down to below union-mandated 19 hours and 55 minutes.
“We’re not at 19 hours, 55 minutes,” D’Avino said. “We’re underneath that due to reductions that were made two years ago. That was the only way I could get to the budget we voted on.”
Assistant Superintendent Charles McKay said the cuts were enormous, but necessary.
“We’ve made significant changes and we’re still struggling with this budget,” he said.