Cuyahoga Falls -- The Cuyahoga Falls City School District Board of Education voted 4-1 April 22 to approve the layoff of one secretary because the position in question is being abolished. Superintendent Dr. Todd M. Nichols said the move is part of an effort to streamline the district's central office and will help it save "over $80,000 a year."
Board member David Rump cast the dissenting vote. In prevote remarks, he said, "I don't like to see anybody take a salary reduction because of this …"
One classified secretary III position will be eliminated as of June 30.
Pauline Paul, the secretary who is being laid off, has worked for the district for 26 years "and she is going to have a financial burden because the position is being eliminated …" said Patti Kapusinski, president of Local #111 of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. Kapusinski added administrators told Paul that the responsibilities of the position are going to be divided among OAPSE building secretaries or exempt secretaries after she's laid off.
The superintendent denied any additional responsibilities will be shifted to the building level. Nichols said some of the secretary III's duties will be absorbed by the administrative secretary in the Human Resources Department. He said discussions have taken place with OAPSE representatives "for a good number of months" about how the district's central office will be reorganized.
Paul did not respond to an email seeking comment by press time April 25.
At its April 22 meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Catherine Roberts as administrative assistant in the superintendent's office, effective July 1. Roberts will replace Jeanne Jobe, who is retiring June 30, and earn an annual salary of $52,000. On the same evening, Peggy Whitcomb received unanimous Board support to replace Roberts as the administrative secretary in the Human Resources Department. Whitcomb's appointment will be effective July 1 and she will earn $43,472 per year.
"We effectuated a RIF [reduction in force] of one position," Nichols said, "and as we moved people around as a result of a retirement, we did not replace another position. Thus, an $80,000 reduction of salary and benefits associated with the reduction of two positions is a conservative estimate."
Paul presently earns an annual salary of $36,358.40. As a bargaining unit member, she will be able to "bump" or take the position of a secretary with less experience within her pay grade classification, according to Len DeChant, the district's director of business affairs; and the person who Paul replaces has the right to do the same.
Paul's new position may have a lower salary.
"If we are to effectuate the savings in central office and the streamlining of the responsibilities, unfortunately that's part of the process," the superintendent said. Nichols reported district officials constantly evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs and positions. "The re-organization of central office was one way in which we could reduce costs without impacting student achievement," Nichols said, adding, "We will continue to evaluate all positions on a need vs. want basis. We fully understand that the community wants us to live within our means and we are attempting to do so with every decision."
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