Liverpool RIFs crossing guards, custodians

EAST LIVERPOOL – Citing financial reasons, the city school board Monday night approved the reduction in force (RIF) of 10 employees, all members of Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Chapter 223.

The measure abolished the positions of crossing guards Tina Smith, who worked at the Westgate location at Lisbon Street off Ninth; Lisa Palmer, Westgate at Seventh and Jefferson; Janet Falatek, North Elementary at Church Drive, McKinnon and Maine Boulevard; Anna Wiegand, North Elementary at Maine Boulevard near Eutaw Avenue; Patty Milhoan, LaCroft Elementary at Lisbon Street, Convenient Mart; and Lisa Francis, LaCroft Elementary at Lisbon Street and Densmore Street.

Also abolished were custodians Greg Todd, high school 6 a.m. to noon and Regina Schmelick, high school, 2:30-10:30 p.m.; Kim Bahen, LaCroft Elementary, 2-10 p.m.; and Dave Wright, North Elementary, 2-10 p.m.

Linda Allen, mother of board member Brian Allen, also had her position abolished through attrition after recently retiring.

In the same motion, the board created the custodian positions of high school, 12:30-8:30 p.m.; LaCroft Elementary, 2-6 p.m.; and North Elementary, 2-6 p.m.

The layoffs will be in effect as of Aug. 18, with employees able to exercise bumping rights afforded to them in their contract.

The board made no comment other than President Janice Martin, who said that, in regard to the crossing guard reductions, “It is very important for the public to know we provide free transportation to every student in this district. All we need to know is where the student lives and we’ll have a bus there to pick them up.”

Jack Croxall, OAPSE president, said after the meeting, however, that there are still many students who walk to school in the district and that the “buses don’t go door-to-door.”

He said the RIF was not much of a surprise since the district has been discussing possible cuts since a time study was conducted about a year ago, showing areas in which expenses could be shaved.

Asked if he had been apprised by the board how much will be saved by this RIF, Croxall said, “I don’t even know. I’ve asked that twice. I could see it if they were really saving money.”

He said a crossing guard earns $10 per hour and works two hours per day, saying, “But they’ve got $1.4 million in locker rooms,” referring to recent upgrades at Patterson Field.

According to Croxall, the union will be meeting today with school officials about the issue, saying, “Nothing’s written in stone yet.”