community, educators speak out in support of arts coordinator position | Education

SIOUX CITY — Community members spoke out on Monday against a proposal by the Sioux City Community School District to cut a fine arts coordinator position, a move many saw as a step backwards that would make the arts a lower priority in the district.

After listening to the community, the board decided to keep the artistic position in a different position while reducing the teacher leadership program he was originally part of.

The board decided in a 4-3 vote on Monday to cut state-funded teacher leadership positions to fill teaching positions.

The Teacher Leadership and Compensation Program, known as TLC, is a publicly paid program that uses teachers to support other teachers.

The program pays the salaries of consultant teachers, program coordinators, and curriculum facilitators in certain areas of the program. Currently, there are 53 TLC teachers in the district.

When a teacher is removed from the classroom for a position funded by TLC, the replacement teacher may be paid from TLC funds. Board chairman Dan Greenwell said the availability of the option was never communicated to the school board or TLC management.

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The board asked the district administration to come up with a plan to use TLC funding to fill the positions and create an individual replacement system.

In this way, TLC funding would be used to pay for the teacher leader position and the substitute teacher.

To accomplish this over the next year, the district would need to move 17 TLC teachers to other district positions, reducing the TLC program by 31 percent, to fill classroom positions.

The main reason the school board scaled back the TLC program is to have more teachers in the classroom, which reduces class sizes, Greenwell said.

Many community members who spoke at the meeting felt that reducing these positions would have a negative impact on teachers and students.

One of the positions suggested to be cut was the arts and community coordinator, who was responsible for linking community arts and music programs to classrooms in the district and providing arts instructors with knowledge and education.

With the position eliminated, these tasks would have potentially been delegated to a teacher-leader committee made up of school and district administrators. Those who spoke on Monday felt it should be handled by someone with artistic expertise.

Angela Bemus, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the district, said the arts coordinator position was on the chopping block because there are secondary and elementary directors with music degrees who could help fill the blank left by deleting the post.

Board member Taylor Goodvin said he did not realize that particular position could be eliminated. He said he supported the position and asked the board to consider removing it from TLC.

The council decided to remove the position from the TLC program and asked the district administration to reclassify the position, retain the position in the district, and offer it to the council in the future.

Representatives of district and community music and arts organizations asked the board to support the position and other TLC positions.

Music and arts teachers described feeling supported by the arts coordinator and discussed the amount of work the coordinator does for the arts and music programs.

The educators asked the council not to remove their only representative at the administrative level.

Board members Greenwell, Jan George, Goodvin and Bob Michaelson voted to cut. Juli Albert, Monique Scarlett and Perla Alarcon-Flory voted against.

The 17 TLC positions will be reduced as follows:

– Reduction of six secondary school teacher advisors;

– Decrease five elementary school advisory teachers;

– Reduce three program coordinators and;

– Reduction of three technology consultant teachers.

The District will follow the involuntary transfer procedures outlined in the employee handbook.