Hundreds of people, including many students, packed the school's Little Theater Wednesday to protest faculty layoffs.
The instructors, a mix of part-time and non-tenured teachers, were dismissed on March 22, part of the annual reduction in force (RIF) notices sent to teachers in school districts across the state as those entities set the staffing levels for the next school year. School officials have said the RIF decisions are based on anticipated enrollment figures, class choices and teacher seniority.
An estimated 70 students attended Wednesday's special meeting, called by the OPRF District 200 school board after they were flooded with e-mails and correspondence prompted by student-led Save OPRF website and corresponding Facebook page. Here's a look at local coverage from the meeting:
"Even though many teachers that are RIF-fed are eventually called back, it appears that the very popular acting teacher and head of the OPRF theater department Tracy Strimple will not be called back. Strimple, who has a background in musical theater, also teaches directing and has directed numerous shows at OPRF."
"The main thrust of their argument is this is nothing personal, and my problem … is that how can this not be personal. How can you make a decision to reduce even one teacher without listening to this?" said student Jack Cramer, gesturing toward the three-quarters full high school auditorium in which the meeting was held. "That makes me angry."
"Board President Dee Millard said that while she can’t guarantee anything presently, historically “around two-thirds” of all riffed teachers have been re-hired. “We hear you. We always hear you,” Millard told her audience."