DCS cuts jobs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Demopolis City Schools cut several personnel during its most recent board meeting, terminating certified teachers and aides in anticipation of a leaner state education budget.

Those cuts included teachers like Demopolis High School teacher Audrey Hamilton, Demopolis Middle School&8217;s Leroy Harris and Trey Smith and a pair of aides at Westside Elementary School.

The cuts came in anticipation of a smaller state education budget, DCS Superintendent Dr. L. Wayne Vickers said.

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But former employees like Yancena Perry, who was part of the system&8217;s community education staff, say they are unsure of the criteria used to decide the cuts. If her contract had been renewed, Perry would have had tenure &8212; meaning her position could not be terminated without sufficient cause.

And the decision to cut Perry may affect the system&8217;s community education department.

Vickers said the cuts were a difficult decision.

Hill, who has been contemplating retirement, said the community education department&8217;s work would become more difficult without Perry on staff.

But Perry thinks that, in her case, the termination may have been the result of a disagreement with Vickers earlier in the academic year.

But Vickers maintains that the cuts were purely professional.

And the cuts may not be permanent, Vickers said.

But the system isn&8217;t filling at least two positions. An assistant coaching position, most recently held by Nathan Hallman, and a defensive coordinator football coaching post, most recently held by Bryan Seymore.

But Demopolis High football coach Tom Causey told The Times that he has met with at least one candidate for Seymore&8217;s position, and interviews with other candidates are scheduled for Friday and Monday.

The cuts would save the school system around $450,000 for the coming fiscal year, Vickers said.

The state Legislature failed to pass an education budget during its 2008 regular session, and is currently hammering out a budget in a special session called by Gov. Bob Riley.