Revised Editorial - UPDATED 2/18
Parents of McKinley and Wilson Elementary students are up in arms over the firing of four beloved teachers who all received excellent evaluations. Non-reelect slips were handed out Wednesday to Julie (Busch) Gonzales, Melinda (Dixon) Hildebrandt, Deidra Perry and Amber Bozzo- all four, thought to be eligible for non-reelect before the March 15 deadline for tenure. The only thing is, the act was done so thoughtlessly that the homework wasn't done and Bozzo had enough time in to be tenured from the previous year. The three teachers were advised that they should resign within 24 hours so that the non-reelect would not be reflected in their records. The teachers did this and were expected to return to their classrooms after such a heartbreaking time. The three elementary school teachers are not the only ones who have been told they won't be back next year. Mikeial Williamson, the Vice-Principal at Sycamore School and two GHS math teachers Elaine Fell and Dominique Thompson were also given non-reelect status. Parents immediately converged on Wilson and McKinley Schools with protest signs in hand in support of the very popular teachers who have impacted so many children's lives along with their families. They returned on Thursday and Friday to get the message out even further with their children also holding signs of support. Why local teachers were dismissed, those with ties to the community, their own children in our schools, nobody can explain. Gridley Unified School District has a reputation for being a district who commonly hires out-of-town teachers, some looking for a beginning who can leave here for higher paying districts. Many local teachers have waited years to possibly be hired here in their own town, most giving up and becoming part of the commuting crowd themselves, passing the Chico teachers coming to Gridley to work. These fired teachers spend so much time not only at the schools but also as part of the community, showing their support and help when it comes to events such as the recent spaghetti dinner put on by the PTA. Something is not right. Parents are hurt and upset by this bold move by one man, the Superintendent Mr. Rick Rubino and the school board. The statement given to the press regarding school district's not having to give a reason for dismissal before a teacher is given tenure is not going to fly in this community. Parents want to know why this has been done. Why these wonderful teachers will not be here for their other children who will be entering school in years to come. Where could you get better teachers than these ladies who wanted to work in their hometowns and have made such a great impact on the children? Did anyone think of what this has done to the children? Shouldn't they come first? If you know this community at all, you won't be surprised that a huge contingency of parents will converge at the School Board meeting Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., to be heard. The school board needs to listen to the parents and please, please think of the children first -the 900 children affected by this horrendous move this year. What is the reasoning? The Gridley Unified School District is in 40 percent reserves (when only three percent is required) so it can't be financial. Parents want answers and they deserve them. The teachers deserve respect - not firing because they are local teachers. Lets hope the school board does the right thing – disregard the resignations the teachers were forced to submit.