PORTLAND – A student’s Facebook campaign against the pending transfer of a Deering High School teacher to Lyman Moore Middle School highlights 52 staff transfers that will happen in the coming school year because of budget and job cuts.

Lynn McGinty has taught high school French and Spanish for 32 years, the last 10 at Deering High. She is set to be transferred to the middle school and take over classes now taught by a French teacher and a Spanish teacher.

A student-sponsored Facebook page describes McGinty as helpful and supportive to students and urges people to contact Superintendent Jim Morse and Deering Principal Ken Kunin to oppose the transfer.

“I believe that (McGinty) is such a good high school teacher that she should just stay where she is,” wrote the student who created the Facebook page.

Morse agreed that McGinty is a great teacher and acknowledged that her pending transfer is upsetting to many students. He noted that other teachers among the 52 staff members who will be transferred have inspired similar support, though McGinty is the only one known to have a Facebook page.

“All things being equal, I’d love to keep people in their assignments of choice,” Morse said. “But we’ve lost 45 positions and we had to shuffle a lot of people to minimize layoffs.”

The $89.9 million school budget that takes effect July 1 is nearly $1.4 million less than the $91.3 million budget that voters approved for the current school year.

It will eliminate 45 positions overall, including teachers, educational technicians, custodians and administrators, Morse said.

However, it required the equivalent of only 14.5 teachers to be laid off, largely because administrators, teachers and union leaders worked together to move teachers into positions they were certified to fill.

As a result, the 52 staff transfers for the coming school year will be about 10 times the usual number for the district, Morse said. He noted that the transfers were made according to contract guidelines and in consultation with union representatives. The district has about 560 teachers, and almost 1,200 employees overall.

Some teachers were moved into new positions that the School Committee agreed to create to address needs in the district, including three elementary teachers who will be federally funded.

The 52 staff transfers include many teachers who are moving to grade levels or subject areas for which they are certified but haven’t taught in a while, Morse said.

“I would expect them to be just as effective in their new positions as they were in their former positions,” Morse said.

McGinty is one of five Deering High teachers who will be transferred, said Kunin, the principal. He said many students and others sent e-mails and letters to him and Morse opposing McGinty’s transfer.

“It’s an honest outpouring from students who think she’s wonderful, and they’re right,” Kunin said. “She’s the kind of teacher that kids will hang out in her classroom. She is touched by their response but she hasn’t encouraged it because she is a consummate professional.”

McGinty declined to discuss her transfer in detail because it’s a personnel matter.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I didn’t realize how many students I’ve touched over the years.”

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]