Blackhawk School District Postpones Vote On Teacher Furloughs

CHIPPEWA (KDKA) — The Blackhawk School Board listened to dozens speak on proposed teacher layoffs and the future of an elementary school building Thursday night.

Hundreds of people packed the Blackhawk High School gym for a four-hour meeting.

The board was slated to vote on laying off teachers, athletic coaches and custodians. However, they decided to revisit the furloughs at another meeting on May 20.

The problem comes down to money.

According to the Beaver County Times, when the school year ends, the district will have $230,000 in the general fund. That is $1.6 million less than the state recommendation.

Another issue the community is worried about is the district cutting foreign language, business education, family consumer science and primary and elementary education.

“Every time you hack away at our course offerings, our teachers, our athletics, you decrease our tax base by not attracting more people to our district and by having them leave to cyber school where we’re paying $10,000 per student to have them go somewhere else,” one woman said.

“Bottom line is I don’t want anything cut. My kids are gone, my income is now limited,” another woman said.

The other plan on the table was to terminate a contract to renovate Northwestern Primary School, where work has already begun.

According to the Beaver County Times, the board voted to keep that contract and continue with the construction.

One person absent from the meeting was controversial school superintendent, Dr. Melanie Kerber.

She is reportedly now on sick leave.

A member of the board said at the meeting that he and his colleagues have already begun looking for a substitute superintendent.

He offered no other details on Dr. Kerber’s absence.

Critics of Kerber have launched an online petition to get her fired, claiming the district has been in a constant state of turmoil since she became superintendent more than a year ago.

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