This message was sent to AnneLandmanBlog by a School District-51 employee who asked that I paraphrase their message rather than quote them verbatim, to help keep them anonymous. The employee fears potential backlash by the District for weighing in publicly on the way Superintendent Brian Hill is proposing to close the Fruita 8/9 public school.
Here is the message:
“It is deceitful, even a lie, to say no one is getting fired in the impending closure of the Fruita 8/9 School.
While teachers with tenure will be paid for next year and given the opportunity to interview for other jobs, it won’t necessarily be for what they have been doing for the last 20 years. Some people will absolutely lose their jobs, and the principals and assistant principals have been guaranteed nothing. Teachers of special subjects like band and chorus will be completely out of luck with their specialty areas. Probationary teachers will be able to interview for jobs, but if they don’t get hired, they won’t get a salary. And in making their decision, the District is giving no consideration to tenure or experience. Their plan is to move the entire Fruita Monument High School staff to the Fruita 8/9 school building, and a probationary counselor will be taking the job of experienced and tenured counselors who will also have trouble finding positions within the District. There just will not be enough jobs for everyone who is being displaced at Fruita 8/9, and for those who do land jobs, their new positions may be far from the fields in which they have experience. The District is saying “no one is being fired,” but it is effectively getting fired because people are certainly going lose their jobs. It makes no sense for 8th grade teachers to be forced to interview for jobs teaching 8th grade — after they’ve already been teaching it for years — and to then not even get any guarantee they will get that job.
At the same time, consider the salaries at central administration. The pay of senior administrators in D-51 has been greatly raised, ostensibly to be “competitive” so they can hire competent people, and we have LOTS of senior admins. But at the same time consider that teachers have no idea what “Area Directors” do except make these high salaries.
I’m attaching suggestions and proposals based on solutions from Jefferson County and Denver Public School Districts, that the Mesa Valley Education Association has given to Dr. Hill, that are legal and that outline ways the District can avoid the type of massive displacement it will cause, but Dr. Hill has refused to consider them.
Also consider the fact that only one D-51 School Board member actually has children in public schools here. The others with school-aged children have enrolled them in charter schools. Almost none of them have college degrees and thus they have limited or non-existent appreciation for higher education and consequently little respect for teachers. The way they are choosing to close public schools gives them a way to get rid of experienced teachers who are finally starting to get salary increases commensurate with their advanced levels of education, for example Masters degrees and above, and replace them with less educated, less experienced teachers who will start at a fraction of the cost.
My hope is that the community will come forward to oppose the way this is being handled, but time is short. The Board will meet on Tuesday, December 12th from 5-8:00 p.m. in the Harry Butler Board Room (455 N. 22nd St.) for a working meeting where no public comment will be taken. Dr. Hill’s plan will be presented at this meeting. Then, at the meeting on Tuesday, December 19 (also 5-8: p.m. at the same location), there will be a meeting to approve it. At this point approval seems a foregone conclusion, but a large turnout from the public at both meetings, regardless of whether public comments are allowed or not, would make a big difference, as would emails sent to Dr. Hill (email@example.com) and all of the board members. (Andrea.Haitz@d51schools.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, Angela.Lema@d51schools.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Please encourage everyone to reach out to the District with their thoughts on this and push Dr. Hill and the Board to work in the light. The board conveniently went out of town immediately after the plan was presented to the 8/9 school.”
The attachments the writer mentioned are here (as pdfs):
Another anonymous school employee, “D-51 Insider,” wrote,
“You are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. They wanted to get the Fruita 8/9 situation behind them because in the new year we will be announcing the closure of 3 more schools, as promised back in 2022.Front runners include:1. Gateway2. Lincoln Orchard Mesa ES3. Shelledy ESThere will be a RIF (reduction in work force) in June. Looking at about 100-160 employeesEncourage people to ask the hard questions at board meetings.”