The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

June 9, 2014

UPDATED: District rehires recently terminated teacher

Superintendent hopeful that another teacher can regain employment

CLINTON — A teacher who was terminated from Clinton schools due to budget reductions in May has been rehired.

Washington Middle School teachers Melissa Luckritz and Tonya Ernst were both terminated on May 12 with the district citing budget restraints. Thanks to recall agreements with both, Luckritz was given first consideration for a recently available third-grade slot at Whittier Elementary School. Superintendent Deb Olson is hopeful Ernst also can be brought back when school resumes this fall.

“When folks are terminated due to budget cuts, they have right of recall,” Olson said on Monday. “It was my goal to try to rehire these people, and I’m happy that we were able to do that.

“Unfortunately we are still experiencing people that are resigning. My hope would be Tonya (Ernst) would have a position by the end of summer.”

In all, CCSD eliminated 11 positions, mostly through retirements and voluntary resignations. This allowed the district to recoup $907,000 after facing a shortfall of more than $600,000 due to declined enrollment.

When both teachers were terminated, Olson said they were “strong candidates” to fulfill numerous positions that could be vacated this summer. Although the terminations were not easy for her, Olson stood by the district’s determination to make the cuts.

“I made my budget reduction proposal based on past experience of what’s happened before,” she said. “A sense of relief? I guess in a way, but we have to go forward with what’s best for the district.”

Luckritz will replace third-grade teacher Sarah Price.

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