Southern Tioga board votes to terminate staff

MANSFIELD – Nine teachers, seven support staff and 21 supplemental contract positions were cut during Southern Tioga School District’s school board meeting Tuesday in the wake of the closure of Liberty High School.

The board voted last year to close Liberty and is now considering closing Blossburg Elementary School to save enough money to complete its planned renovation to the North Penn High School.

A special meeting will be held May 5 to vote on that decision.

Teacher positions eliminated were a social studies teacher, two English teachers, a math teacher, a technology teacher, a Spanish teacher, a physical education teacher, a music teacher and an enrichment teacher.

Support staff positions eliminated were two secretaries, a part-time learning support paraprofessional, part-time library paraprofessional, a full-time custodian and two part-time custodians.

Supplemental contract positions eliminated included dean of students, student activities director, boys and girls basketball coaching positions and special activities and class adviser positions.

Before they voted, the board heard from Blossburg Elementary School second-grade teacher Kelly Honeyfield, who noted with the personnel cuts, the program will be curtailed from gifted enrichment to just gifted because there would be only one teacher for 45 students.

“This completely removes support, and reduces time available to meet educational needs of gifted students whose needs we have the legal requirement to meet,” she added.

Board member Sally Knipe also had a problem with eliminating the gifted teacher position and was the only board member to vote no on the staff cuts. Board member Kyle Lefheloc was absent from the meeting.

“We are under federal mandate to provide a good environment for our gifted students to explore all the possibilities that we can,” Snipe said.. “We are about educating children, all children.”