LORAIN — At least 16 educators have left the district since the end of the school year, according to the Lorain Education Association.
Union president Jay Pickering said Friday that at least eight have resigned from the district in the past week, and another eight had left since the end of the school year. His count did not include those who had retired, been fired or otherwise removed.
“We’re all just waiting to hear what the budget does because they’re just delaying the decision as to whether or not they do away with House Bill 70,” he said. “But I will say that I get at least a phone call every other day from a teacher asking me requirements to resign and what to do and they’re considering leaving.”
While there is usually some shuffling of staff either between buildings or out of the district at the end of the year, Pickering said the numbers he’s seeing are well above normal. He said before the state takeover, there would be fewer than 10 resignations a year.
Pickering said of the teachers who left this year, two were from Teach for America.
The district has 45 certified staff positions listed publicly via its Frontline Education Recruiting account — these are positions still vacant after internal bidding. Of those positions listed, many are for special education staff.
Of those, 14 are for the high school, 11 for General Johnnie Wilson Middle School and five for Washington Elementary School. One of the positions at General Johnnie Wilson is a part-time special education position.
The rest are split between Frank Jacinto Elementary (1), Larkmoor Elementary (1), Southview Middle School (3), Admiral King Elementary (1), Hawthorne Elementary (1), Palm Elementary (1), Toni Morrison Elementary (1), a part-time Early College position at Lorain County Community College, a parochial tutor position and four positions serving multiple buildings.
There also has been a high turnover in building administrative jobs. The district has five external listings for administrative roles: the dean of academic outcomes at Frank Jacinto Elementary, dean of academic outcomes at Longfellow Middle School, dean of academic outcomes at General Johnnie Wilson Middle School, dean of scholar and family engagement for a building-to-be-determined and special education supervisor.
There is an internal-only listing for a director of secondary academies (culture) for the high school. It is unclear if it is a new position.
The district did not return a request for comment regarding the administrative job listings.
Pickering expects if the state takeover continues into next school year, the exodus of staff will continue. But that could come with its own challenges.
“Absolutely, they’ll try to leave,” he said. “Now the state has a deadline of July 10 for somebody to resign from a school district and go to another school district without any repercussions. And it’s actually up to the school district you’re leaving to create the repercussions — there doesn’t have to be and oftentimes there isn’t.”
He said last year the district did try to “play hardball” with some staff who resigned after the July 10 deadline, asking the Ohio Department of Education to withhold their teaching certificates for a year. Pickering said in one instance, the CEO requested the Ohio Department of Education withhold a certificate for a woman whose husband’s job moved 400 miles away. She found a job in the area her family was moving to after the July 10 deadline. The Ohio Department of Education ultimately sided with the teacher, Pickering said, as the reason for the move was out of her control.
“I don’t know what they’ll do right now,” Pickering said. “It depends on how desperate they’ll be for teachers.”
The new deadline for the state budget is Wednesday.