Petition, Protests Come After Teachers, Staff Furloughed

Dayton, Ohio – School starts after Labor Day in Dayton, but there won’t be any students in the classroom, just a camera and teachers, a lot fewer teachers.

“It’s a very tedious, heart wrenching process because you’re affecting people’s livelihood,” said Dayton Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli. Lolli had to tell 114 teachers and staff, they don’t have a job anymore, at least for now.

“It was not done to save money, it was done because there is no work in some situations with students that can be done in a virtual environment, consequently we can’t pay someone for not doing that work,” said Lolli.

But she said when students come back, staff will get their jobs back.

“Once students are back in the buildings, we have a need for our nurses, we have a need for our assistant principals, our bus drivers to pick them up and go to school, we have a need for everyone that’s been furloughed to come back,” said Lolli.

But that means the entire first semester, at least nine weeks or longer, they’ll be without work.

“We were pretty dismayed, particularly at this stage of the pandemic, this close to the start of the school year,” said Dayton Education Association President David Romick.

Romick, president of the teacher’s union, is concerned whether those furloughed educators will even take the jobs back.

“What happens when the remote learning period is over and they’re employed elsewhere at the end of the first quarter or the end of the first semester,” said Romick.

It’s the reason they’re trying to keep those furloughs from happening; he said teachers and staff should be used in a different capacity during remote learning.

“We feel like those educators and support educators could certainly have filled other roles, even as they’re not providing direct services,” said Romick.

Nearly 25,000 people agreed with him.

That’s how many signatures are on a parent-initiated online petition to stop the furloughs; some parents went as far as protesting in front of the schools.

But unless something changes before Sept. 14, when the furloughs take effect, more than 100 teachers and staff won’t be working at the start of the school year.

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