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Beaumont teachers react to phone calls to get them to resign
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
BISD teachers are planning their next move after what they're calling "the dark night."
Monday, trustees voted to approve a plan to cut more than 200 jobs, including many teaching positions, to save millions of dollars. Thursday night, teachers said administrators began calling them, saying their jobs had been eliminated and suggesting they resign by noon Friday.
"It was 9:03 p.m. and I received a phone call and when I picked up the phone call, they said Ms.Baker, and it was my campus principal," West Brook H.S. English teacher Nicole Baker said.
Thursday night, Baker said she received the message no teacher wants to hear.
"I was not surprised. Angry, yes. Very disappointed that the way they went about it. My child was standing in front of me," Baker said.
She said she learned her job was gone, part of the Beaumont school district's reduction in force. The plan eliminates hundreds of positions, including those of many teachers, to save millions of dollars.
"They told us that we needed to resign by noon today and that we would need to pick up a letter at the admin building," Baker said.
Attorney Michael Getz said resigning would jeopardize teachers' unemployment benefits and their right to a hearing.
"It is to the benefit of the school district to have an employee resign as opposed to having the school district terminate them, but I think it's despicable," Getz said.
"They have voted on a list of positions. Now they have to vote on names," Beaumont Teacher's Association Vice President Sebrina Dollar said. "I don't understand why they were asking people to resign except for, the fact that okay we don't have to deal with the hearing with them and we don't have to worry about paying them unemployment."
The Beaumont Teacher's Association said the calls were "cold-hearted" and "heavy-handed."
The news release read, "This underhanded attempt at bullying dedicated educators into "voluntarily" reducing the number of layoffs for which the district will assume responsibility is deplorable."
"We are you know compiling a list of those who have been riffed and our attorneys are already working on setting up hearing processes," Dollar said.
The process is leaving some concerned for more than just their jobs.
"I am absolutely heartbroken when I think about some of my kids," Baker said.
Now, hundreds of students and hundreds of teachers wait for a formal vote at Monday's board meeting.