School Board meeting tonight

Ashland's school board considers five layoffs tonight, including the superintendent's controversial recommendation to replace the principal of Bellview Elementary School.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Ashland Middle School, 100 Walker Ave.

In addition to Bellview Principal Christine McCollom, a part-time educational assistant, a district office employee, a part-time secretary and a part-time custodian would lose their jobs under the recommendation by Superintendent Juli Di Chiro.

McCollom would be replaced by senior administrator Michelle Zundel, whose current position as director of education would be eliminated.

Di Chiro's announcement last month that another administrator "drew lots" in her office to determine McCollom should be let go — and that no one else witnessed the event — angered some parents of Bellview students and community members who felt McCollom had been unfairly singled out.

But Di Chiro has said the process was fair and was done according to McCollom's contract with the district.

If the board approves the cuts tonight, 141 employees — out of a total of about 370 in the district — will have been affected by the three rounds of cuts, either through job losses, shortened hours or transfers within the district, according to Di Chiro.

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