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Parents protest at Sylvania Schools for sake of art, music, and gym teachers

The school board ultimately decided no cuts will be made and students will return to the classroom on September 14th.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 11:43 PM EDT
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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - Teachers and students again awaited board members of Sylvania Schools at the administration building Thursday evening. This time, teacher’s jobs were at stake.

When we last heard from the school board, 21 art, music, and physical education teachers were proposed to be reduced to part-time positions.

Plus, multiple reading and math intervention positions were that were already half time were axed completely due to the pandemic.

President of the Sylvania Education Association, Dan Greenberg, came to the building again today to support the teacher’s voice. “It’s a total of 44, 45 teachers and it’s really going to make a huge impact on our district and the ability to serve our students,” says Greenberg.

Teachers of all age groups in the district, including Jennifer Grafitti and Lisa Sobb, say they wanted to stand up for themselves, their colleagues, and their students.

“Reading and math and science and social studies, we always put a lot of emphasis on,” explains Grafitti, a teacher at Maplewood Elementary. “But there are so many other ways that kids can show they are talented.”

“We’re just worried for the future,” says Sobb, a Southview High School teacher. “I have a two-year-old daughter who is here with me and I’m worried about what school is going to look like when she gets there if we keep cutting.”

There was also much concern surrounding a child’s development, should they lose some of their favorite subjects and teachers.

“Relationships and connections really mean the most in education,” adds Renee Stack, a school counselor at Stranahan Elementary. “If they are losing relationships with some very vital staff members, that’s going to make it much harder for them to adapt to school this fall.”

Ultimately, the board decided to pause all cuts at this time after the decision was made to send children K-5th grade back to in-person classes full time starting on September 14th. Grades 6th-12th will also start the year virtually, but pivot to a hybrid learning schedule that same day.

Which means the school will need the elementary teachers back in their classrooms.

I spoke with Sylvania Schools Superintendent, Dr. Veronica Motley, right after the executive session wrapped up.

“We announced tonight that those teachers who were on the riff list should report to their buildings tomorrow,” says Motley, who says the board believes it is in the best interest of Sylvania’s youngest students to be back in the classroom full time.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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