Statement from Marions United President Nancy Noonan:
“It’s a sad day for Marion County when our community loses 261 school employees, including all 160 first year teachers. These layoffs, combined with the creation of 100 so-called ‘permanent substitutes’ do great damage to the quality of education our students receive, and our community’s reputation.
“Let’s be clear: these public servants didn’t simply lose their jobs last month, they lost them when the school funding referendum failed last August.
“The Marion County School Board must take responsibility for their failure to boost local investment in our schools to ensure our community wasn’t left vulnerable to Tallahassee’s political whims. Instead, they have consistently bowed to narrow ideological politics every time the opportunity to boost investment presented itself. From stopping the quarter mill option in 2009, to never collecting impact fees on new development, and cowardly refusing to stand behind their own funding referenda after putting the measures on the ballot last year, our school board has abdicated its responsibility at every opportunity.
“Tallahassee bears a significant amount of responsibility as well for failing to adequately invest in public education, but it is the duty of our school board to look out for Marion County and they have clearly failed in that effort.
“Now is the time for Superintendent Tomyn and our school board to reclaim the mantle of leadership. Marions United For Public Education calls on the school board to get serious and develop a long-term solution that boosts local investment in our schools. The people of Marion County deserve a school budget that finally puts the needs of students first, not politics.”
Marions United for Public Education is a grassroots group of teachers, parents, students, and citizens who are fighting for a stronger and more effective public education system.