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CUYAHOGA FALLS — The Board of Education voted to eliminate 18 teaching positions Wednesday evening, but the vote wasn't unanimous.
Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols said the reduction in force, which he recommended to the Board, was necessary "due to substantiated financial reasons." Three Board members agreed and voted in favor of Nichols' plan to eliminate the positions but members Barbara Gunter and Dave Martin voted against the recommendation.
"I am in tears over this," said Board member Kathy Moffet during the meeting in the high school library. "I was employed by this school district for 40 years. Due to many circumstances beyond our control, we find ourselves in this extremely difficult financial condition, along with Tallmadge, Woodridge and other surrounding school districts."
"This is one of those decisions no Board likes to make; knowing how hard our teachers work," said Board President Karen Schofield.
Last month, Nichols presented his plan to cut costs. At that time he had said contracts with 24 certified employees would be suspended. Since then, that had been reduced to 18.
Gunter said she voted against the RIFs because the Board was left out of discussions related to budget cuts. "The Board was not involved or asked for any input whatsoever and I believe there was a better way," she said.
Gunter also said she believes because teachers were served RIF notices last month and then several were called back to work before the June 7 Board meeting, the Board's vote was "just a formality."
"We should have been asked to approve this earlier," Gunter said.
Following the meeting Martin said he voted against reductions in force because, "I am not a riffer. I don't riff. There are other ways,"