After the outrage from parents and students that a teacher going on maternity leave would not be replaced this school year, the West York School Board has backed away from that decision.
The change in direction, which the board agreed to at its Tuesday night workshop session, gives short-term benefits but has the potential for long-term consequences.
The issue arose because elementary choral music teacher Tiffany Scarlatta was going on maternity leave in May, after the spring concert.
The district's plan, according to Superintendent Emilie Lonardi, was not to hire a long-term sub for those three weeks, thus saving the district some much-needed money.
Parents and students, afraid it meant the position would never be refilled, stormed the school board meeting and protested, speaking passionately during a public comment session that lasted more than an hour.
Policy: Because of that, the district administration changed its policy about not hiring long-term subs for maternity leave, a policy Lonardi thought could help the district save money.
"We have a fairly young staff," with the possibility for lots of maternity leaves in the coming years, Lonardi explained.
"I thought we could pinch a couple of different places and save money that way. That way, we could furlough one fewer teacher next year. But I don't have the support from the faculty for that," Lonardi said, adding that she was "very surprised."
Because of that, it's almost certain the district will have to furlough at least one teacher at the end of next year.
"I was shocked. I didn't think this (not hiring long-term subs for maternity leave) was a big deal. There are many more big deals to come," Lonardi said.
She also said she was surprised the younger faculty -- the ones who would be in danger of being furloughed -- did not support the idea to save money by not hiring long-term subs.
"We won't save the money, and that will cost someone their job next year, but we're going to do it," Lonardi said.
Scarlatta's maternity leave ended up being covered by three other music teachers in the district, Lonardi said at the meeting.
The district's budget will be voted on at the board's regular meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
-- Reach Lauren McLane at email@example.com.