ARNOLD, Mo. – A change to more than 20 jobs to help fill a gap in the Fox C-6 School District budget has teachers and students outraged at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
Filling a packed room at the board meeting is a sea of black and a moment of silence.
“In mourning and just a concern for where the school district is financially,” said Camille Falconnier, an art teacher at Fox Elementary School.
Many showed signs of disapproval.
“This is affecting us, and it’s not just something we’re going to brush off,” said Lillian Ware, a junior at Fox Senior High School. “We want to be recognized as students who care for their teachers.”
In preparation for the 2023–2024 school year, the Fox C-6 School District has announced changes to help fill its $5 million budget. One cost-saving strategy is generating more anger than gratitude.
“Changing positions, changing locations, and possibly changing positions to the point where they’re teaching a course that have not taught before,” said Dianne Heitman, a teacher at Fox Middle School.
The district plans to transfer roughly 27 teaching jobs. It would allow for $2.4 million to be used, the district said, in order to avoid layoffs.
“It’s not the optimum, I understand that, and a lot of people are hurt and distressed,” said Paul Fregaeu, superintendent for the Fox C-6 School District. “I empathize with them, but it’s been very difficult for all of us.”
“I’m the person behind the number on a spreadsheet, and I’m no more than a drop in some bucket plan,” said a Fox C-6 science teacher being transferred.
Students feel the same way, showing up in numbers and tears for their teachers.
“(My teacher) has always been there to make me feel loved and welcomed at class at Fox,” said a student at Fox High School. “This feeling of security, acceptance, and love exudes from this woman, and there is no one can take her place, and by taking her out of Fox High School, you take a large piece of our heart away from us.”
The school has also chosen to cut back on some building improvement projects, reducing building budgets by $200,000 across the board, and saving $500,000 by delaying the purchase of new computers.
However, the community said it came at a cost.
“To be unfairly relocated through no fault at my own is absolutely devastating,” said another Fox C-6 teacher during public comments. “The staff that made the decision should be ashamed of themselves.”