School's Debt Could Lead To The Firing Of Superintendent

Thursday, April 5th 2007, 11:04 pm

By: News On 6

A financially strapped school district is considering getting rid of its leader. Last month, Catoosa School Superintendent Larry Cale announced the district was half a-million dollars in debt. Cale laid off 28 people to help get the district out of debt, and now his job could be in jeopardy. The Catoosa School board met Thursday and the News On 6's Ashli Sims was the only reporter there. She reports 13 staff members presented their case to keep their job, after that the board could decide if Cale keeps his.

He was at the helm when he found out Catoosa Public Schools was $600,000 in the hole, and he came up with the plan to layoff 28 employees to help get the district out of the red. Now some are calling for Catoosa superintendent, Larry Cale, to resign.

"They have to get rid of Mr. Cale, he's got to go!" said parent John Rogne.

Thursday night Cale defended his plan to layoff workers saying it was necessary because of a lack of money. Right now the district is still more than $100,000 in debt.
Ten teachers showed up to try and get their jobs back.

"The kids are being affected greatly," said Kristy Johnson, a laid off Pre-K teacher. "They are not getting the individual teacher time that they need."

"When he talks about he did what was best for the children, I mean that absolutely cannot be true when it comes to the four or five-year-old program, because the children are the ones directly suffering," parent Vicki Tramel said.

The school board deliberated for less than an hour before voting to dismiss all 13 support employees, then they turned their attention to the school superintendent, who they're also considering firing. It’s a move some parents in the audience support.

"He is in charge of this school district, so he should know where every penny is, when it's coming in, and not spend it until he actually has it in hand," Tramel said.

"Mr. Cale, he's responsible. The treasurer hadn't been here all this year, so he is the one that's in charge of everything," said Rogne. "I think it lies back on him."

The school board entered an executive session after the meeting to debate whether or not to fire Cale. Cale says he’s very surprised to hear they want him to resign effective immediately, because he was planning on resigning at the end of the year anyway.

Related stories:

3/6/2007 - Budget Shortfall Could Mean Fewer Teachers

3/7/2007 - Teacher Layoffs Prompt Walkout

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