The recent lay-offs of 35 employees of the Laurel School District including 17 teachers and paraprofessionals was a blow not only to those who were RIF’d but to the residents of the district.

The school facing a $650,000 for the 2012-13 school year cut the deficit by $450,000 leaving the district scratching where to find another $200,000.

School Board President Patrick Vanderslicewho was just elected to the board then named president last year, which became a hot seat,  says the district is looking into other costs cutting measures, including cutting administrative positions are on the table.

There was public out cry when Laurel did not lay-off any administrators especially after a study showed Laurel having more administrators per student than any other school in the state. Cutting administrators will be difficult since the board recently voted 2-yr contracts for most of them.

Cutting administrators could easily erase the deficit. and calm some of the community members.

At this moment cutting sports activities is off the table; the community is still upset by the loss of their band director who also served as drama teacher.

Vanderslice hopes  the new budget from the General Assembly which will be signed by the governor effective July will enable the school to rehire some of the teachers who were RIF’d.

The question is will the better ones be rehired or is the board and administration going to the good-ole-boy system and return some of the bad tomatoes?



  1. Wow….imagine that. Sports programs in Laurel aren’t affected by any cuts but teachers who are qualified to teach AP courses (thus eliminating the AP courses for the students) and a band director that built an award winning and nationally recognized performing arts department from nothing get cut. Amazing how things have changed so much in Laurel…oh wait. They haven’t. Athletics 1st…everything else 2nd.

  2. I just believe that if there are gonna be cuts, then they should be across the board to EVERY program and not just the ones that always seem to be affected. However, I do know that opinion is in the very small minority in Laurel and always has been.

  3. stop buying toilet paper for the schools, just ban the #2 deed at the schools, especially at the administrative office…..

  4. Almost everyone, to a certain degree agrees with a lot of what you say Brandon but………. Brian Cass is gone because he openly supported Dr. McCoy and the majority of the rest of us during that crisis. There is no valid reason that they can give for getting rid of someone who had done so much for many kids in that school! The powers that be will never admit to this but we know the truth. The excuses for not getting rid of administrators are many and, they are weak. The biggest issue still is the lack of the board to give the public reasons for some of their actions. PUBLIC School, Taxpayer funded, PUBLICLY elected board = all decisions SHOULD be made PUBLIC !!!!

    • That’s going to be the norm until Delaware opens up public employee records under FOIA, like in other states. There you could go check out the personnel files of anyone you want, and so public bodies know they have to act smart and not fire anyone without reason. People will find out. Here, they can hide – are told by lawyers to hide – behind confidentiality laws.

      Frank, I’m curious – what would be your take on that? Would public employees go for it or raise holy hell?

    • Carol we have to hope the board and administration would do what’s best for the kids and the district. I understand it’s easy for people to exert their power and pull strings, but again, let’s hope differently.
      If they don’t the public will know and probably know who pulled the strings.

  5. The RIF process is not meant to be used as a system to get rid of “rotten tomatoes”. There is a system in place called DPAS (Delaware Performance Assessment System) that when used consistently and correctly
    (or at all) should take care of eliminating these foul fruits. This is often not the case.
    Building principals were given the job of identifying positions in their schools that they felt could be eliminated or consolidated. Decisions were made. Conflicts will arise based on what is viewed as most important.

    If the state comes through with funding through the budget, the RIFed teachers will be called back in order of seniority and certification. The Delaware Code
    (Ch. 14, title 14, section 1411) spells it out very clearly.

    RIF is not about/ should not be about eliminating bruised bananas.

    • Hear what you are saying but it didn’t work this time and I have doubts if it will on the recalls. There are loop holes in all laws. After all they were written by attorneys so there has to be an escape hatch.

    • This sounds like fuzzy math…

      The cuts weren’t enough so theres still $200,000 to go. Great job board and administrators.

      but we are going to hire back teachers? Using what money? And that’s going to solve the budget problems… by increasing expenses

      Next step…

      hire someone with questionable ethics that will promote whoever they are dating

  6. If the building principals like Mr. Irvory did his job, the good teachers could been saved, instead we kept teachers that play movies 5 days a week i guess this helps kids on DCAS test We could always move him to the Admin. and give him nothing or make up a job for him, oh snap thats already been done might as well have two there you need two people to play checkers anyway, no fun with just one.

    • I think we do need to give credit where credit is due…there are some admin. in this district I admire and do a great job, they are there for their staff, their students, and the parents. They make decisions based on what is necessary and not who is “their friend”. I have had dealings with some of the admins in this district because I have children that are currently in the school district. When I have spoken to the principals at Dunbar, LIS, and LMS in the last few months I always felt they had the best interest of my children in mind and not my child as a test score nor did they try to pull the wool over my eyes like other admins have done in the past or recently. I do worry if any of the three principals’ contracts that I admire are due to be renewed soon, they will not be because of Laurel’s shortfalls while the admins whose contracts were renewed this year are sitting pretty and maybe shouldn’t have been renewed.

  7. The high school band job should have never existed to begin with. Chorus at middle and high is taught by one teacher and they are great. I’m sure band can be as good with one teacher for middle and high school. Talk about saving money! That’s 500,000 over ten years right there.

    • Noah don’t believe you quite understand the undertaking of having students in two schools, and trying to be a drama teacher, the burden that is. Mr. Roberts has been offered numerous times to take over the HS band and he chose to stay with the younger students. Having been a former band member, the director is not teaching an entire class the same subject, he has to teach each one separately to learn their music and how to play their instrument.

    • Noah, I also don’t think you understand that my husband’s RIF only saves the district the LOCAL portion of his salary. The district does not fork out $50,000 in local funds for the high school band director position….in fact, they don’t even shell out $20,000. Also, Mr. Cass’s job entailed more than “band.” He also taught three sections of Theater, Steel Drums, Marching Band (which is solely after school), and Jazz Ensemble. Let’s not forget that he also was the assistant director of my winter guard program. Ms. Denney’s choral job is not nearly as demanding as she only teaches one section of Chorus at the high school. Mr. Rogers is not able to fulfill his Intermediate/Middle School obligations as well as all the obligations that Mr. Cass had. This is the problem with this situation….many people think they know and are ill-informed.

  8. Noah… have you not heard the difference in the two bands? Plus Mr. Cass was not just the band director….he was so much more. Just listen to his students. Most, if not all, had Mr. Rogers when they were in middle school, so they know the differences. Brian has taken our kids to a whole new level of their artistry. Giving them the instructions needed to become the best they can and pushing them to go further. We owe Mr. Cass so much for all that he had done selflessly for our kids and Laurel in general.

      • I thought some of the admins were up this year from what I heard, but you know you can’t always trust what you hear. Would it be in the board meeting minutes from when the contracts were renewed?

        If the names were mentioned they would be in the minutes, but I’m not sure if they released the names.

  9. Perhaps they should of calculated this sooner. If we could possibly eliminate a few of the Administrative positions and get rid of at least 2 bad apples that I see in positions they have no business holding, we could of saved a few of the highly qualified teachers that they shoved out the door. I wonder how long this is going to continue before the State decides to really start digging. Unfortunately, we are developing too many skeletons in our closet.

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