Moss Point teachers meet about job futures

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A dozen Moss Point teachers, whose jobs are now in jeopardy, met Wednesday to find out what to do next. Their names are on the district's cut list due to budget cuts and job performance.

"What am I going to do?" Malba Schardino asked. "Do I have another job for next year, or do I need to go somewhere else?"

Schardino said for 15 years, she's dedicated her life educating Moss Point Students.

"It feels devastating at times, and you just don't know which way to turn."

Mississippi Association of Educators President Kevin Gilbert said he came to the meeting to help calm fears.

"I think they are upset because of, one, the manner in which it was done, and number two, uncertainty of what's going to happen."

Gilbert said according to a MAE's report, the school district sent out at least 102 non-renewal letters to teachers last week.

"It is highly unusual to have see such a large numbers of non-renewal given out at one time," Gilbert said. "We do know that the date to give out the non-renewal is by April 15, or ten days after the governor signs the budget. He has not signed the budget yet."

Gilbert asserts, by law, teachers have ten days to appeal a non-renewal, but he said teachers received the letters prior to going on spring break.

"That puts that ten days in jeopardy. So what we need to do is make sure whatever measures were taken by school district were done fair; fair dismissal practices and that their rights were not trampled upon."

Gilbert recommended the teachers turn the appeal paperwork as soon as possible so at least some of them can stay in the classroom.

"Massive layoffs, such as this, really increase class size. And that is what research has shown as detrimental to success of students."

WLOX called Moss Point Superintendent Kim Staley, but he was unable to be reached for comment.

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