Downtown Centerville becomes stage to protest school board decision to cut teachers

Downtown Centerville becomes stage to protest school board decision to cut teachers

CENTERVILLE — Parents, grandparents, special education teachers and more gathered in downtown Centerville on Friday evening to register their unhappiness with the city school board decision to cut teachers in response to state funding cuts to the district.

The protesters wanted to show the school board they aren’t happy with the cuts in teaching positions and other services.

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“I am a parent with a special needs student,” Shauna Davis told News Center 7′s Monica Castro. “It’s hard for us to understand why a district would make cuts to the most vulnerable.”

In late June, the school board cut 18.5 teaching positions, including the nine in the special needs category.

Superintendent Tom Henderson proposed the cuts as part of a shift of nearly 32 jobs in reaction to $2.12 million state funding cuts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district cuts included laying off 19 teachers and administration officials and a decision not to fill 13 open positions.

In November, Centerville school district voters passed a 6.9-mill permanent levy. That levy will raise $12.3 million per year for the schools, which have an annual general fund budget of about $100 million, officials with the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office said.