Willoughby-Eastlake Schools face potential lawsuit after district layoff of 200 non-teacher employees

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 10:33 PM EST
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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WOIO) - A representative from the Ohio Association of Public School Employees said they plan to take legal action to stop the layoffs of 200 Willoughby-Eastlake employees, including custodians, maintenance employees, and food service workers.

The school board and administration announced the layoffs last week.

Trina Molnar, OAPSE field representative, said “it’s absolutely cruel and it’s absolutely unnecessary. We have an international pandemic, so to make people vulnerable by not allowing health insurance maintained seems illogical. They’ve been loyal employees. Why have you done this to them? Why have you kicked them out and left them helpless.”

Katelynn Dolijac is a mom of three daughters who attend two different schools.

She said it’s particularly frustrating because she’s asked the school for an aid to help with virtual learning, but gotten no response.

“Seeing they have people that are willing and capable and wanting to do it that just makes me mad. I’ve asked for help I’ve begged at one point. I don’t want her to fail the 6th grade.”

She said she and her daughters are overwhelmed and she needs employees who are being out of work now more than ever.

Molnar called the layoffs right ahead of Christmas “Scrooge-ish” and said, “the holidays are not a time to worry if you can put food on the table or a gift under the tree.”

She said the average salary amongst the members is $31,000. “This is not a job where you make a great deal of money it’s a job where you love the kids, love what you do, you love your community and the district and you show up every day and give your best.”

She called laying off the 200 workers cruel and mean-spirited, “and cut off their insurance right now, especially when people have pre-existing conditions and need their coverage. You don’t see them laying off any highly-paid administrators and asking them to pay ridiculous COBRA amounts for insurance.”

She said workers currently pay $102 for single coverage and $205 for a family plan.

If they want to continue insurance coverage after December 31, they will have to pay $699 for single coverage and $1,922 to cover family members.

“If this was really about money, cuts would be made across the board and would affect the superintendent and assistant superintendent, both of whom make in the high six figures and will keep their insurance and low co-pay amounts, as will all other administrators,” Molnar said.

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