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Several JMCSS Educators Learn Via Letter Their Position is Eliminated

By Erica Williams
By ewilliams@wbbjtv.com

WEST JACKSON -- Seventeen Jackson-Madison County instructional coaches received letters on Thursday informing them they won't have a job with the district in a matter of weeks.


Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin says she is adamant no one has been fired, but admitted to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News the letter is misleading.


"I didn't terminate anyone," Dr. Ruffin said. "If someone says they received a termination letter that I signed, I'd like to see it."


The letters all had the same message: "Due to budgetary constraints, the position you currently hold...has been eliminated. Your last work day will be June 2."


Despite the text of her letter, Dr. Ruffin stands by her statement that no one is being fired.


"There [was] no elimination of people, there was just an elimination of the position," Ruffin said.


Dr. Ruffin says federal funding for the instructional coach positions ends June 30, which is the same day their employment ends with the district, according to the letter.


"Many are concerned about their positions and wanted to know if they have a position," Jeff Davis, President of JMC Education Association, said.


Currently there are 25 instructional coaches in the Jackson-Madison County School System. Of the 17 whose positions will be eliminated, Dr. Ruffin says the ones who apply for other positions in the system will get priority.


Dr. Ruffin says the letter was a sample form used by the school system for any reduction in force situation. She admits she should have included a better explanation.


Instructional coaches serve as supervisors within a school and work directly with teachers on lessons and practices to improve student performance. Dr. Ruffin says she doesn't foresee sending out any more of the letters to instructional coaches.


If she does, she says she'll send a customized letter with a better explanation.


The full text of the letter can be found here