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Cuts possible in Switzerland of Ohio

WOODSFIELD — A handful of administrative employees may lose their jobs in the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District after the new superintendent said he intends to recommend that the board suspend their contracts in the coming weeks.

The board of education held a special meeting Tuesday; members had intended to hire a few new personnel. While much of the meeting was held in executive session, Superintendent Phil Ackerman made a statement in open session that he plans to recommend that the administrative contracts of five district employees be suspended. Those employees include Cyndi Brill, associate superintendent; Suzanne Holland, director of food and nutrition; Linda O’Conner, business manager; James Ruble, adult education director; and Chad Stephens, system analyst.

Ackerman, who was appointed to his position July 1, said the recommendation is a result of the district’s expenditure reduction plan.

“We’re looking at expenditures in the district, and it’s part of that plan to reduce those expenditures,” he added.

The employees must be notified 15 calendar days prior to the board meeting where the recommendation is intended to be made, which is why Ackerman raised the matter during the special meeting.

The board’s next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 12, which does not give enough notice to the employees.

Ackerman said he will make the official recommendation at a special meeting that will be held Aug. 19 at Swiss Hills Career Center, 46601 Ohio 78 in Woodsfield. If the board chooses to approve the recommendation, the employees’ contracts will end 30 days afterward.

Board President Ron Winkler said he and fellow board members will consider the recommendation once it is made and then vote on the matter.

During the meeting, the board approved the hiring of Jordan Blackstone as a TAG, or talented and gifted, instructor for Powhatan and Beallsville Elementary schools; Dakota Sayre as the music teacher for the Beallsville campus; Mike Podlasiak as a meth teacher at Swiss Hills Career Center; and Matt Abbott as a criminal justice instructor at Swiss Hills Career Center.

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