BREWER, Maine — Six teachers have decided to retire in the last month, which will save other teachers’ jobs, Superintendent Cheri Towle said at Monday’s school board meeting.
The Brewer School Department announced at the April school board meeting that it expected to lay off 13 staff members because of a significant loss in revenue next year, but it adjusted the figures as people decided to retire or leave for other jobs.
Those who decided to retire, according to Towle, are Dorothy Whalen, who was hired 44 years ago as a physical education teacher for Brewer High School; Debra Footman, a second-grade teacher for the last 41 years; Susan Dumont, a social studies teacher for 33 years; Diane Corey, a special education teacher for 20 years; Deborah Gunn, special education teacher for 26 years; and Brewer High English teacher Clayton Blood, who also was the varsity boys basketball coach for 15 years. Two others are leaving after working in Brewer for two years.
“I just want to add my thanks to those teachers who are retiring to save other teachers’ jobs,” school board Chairman Mark Farley said. “It had to be a hard decision for all them, but we do appreciate their dedication and their number of years [of service]. We’ll be a better school because of it.”
Two employees were informed during the meeting that they would not be rehired — seventh-grade science teacher Nicholas Walters and a half-time visual arts teacher Sara McDougall were not offered contracts, Towle said.
The School Department also let Brewer Community School Principal Bill Leithiser retire and hired him back at a reduced cost, shifted the occupational therapist from one category to another and added 2.5 positions back at the high school based on student population, which has dropped from 919 students a decade ago to just 647 this year, that include an English, world language and half-time math teacher, the superintendent said.
The proposed $20.8 million budget for the next fiscal year was expected to exceed projected revenues by $313,000, it was announced last month, but that amount decreased significantly, Towle said.
A savings of $79,000 also was reached by hiring Maine Real Estate Management as custodian for Brewer Community School.
The School Department decided to use $1.17 million in leftover funds carried forward to help balance the budget, a slight decrease over last year, when $1.3 million from the fund balance was used.
“That left us with a gap of about $33,000,” the superintendent said.
The budget is decreasing by 0.8 percent, according to proposed budget documents made available at the meeting.