Unrest in TPS over arts, hispanic outreach, general trust

TPS teachers the proposed elimination of specialty positions.

There is discontent in the Toledo Public School District.

Tuesday evening community members rallied over several issues they say the school board needs to reverse decisions over.

"S.O.S-- We must save our specialists," chanted teachers.

Before Tuesday's public hearing even began teachers protested outside of the meeting place over plans to eliminate art, music and physical education teachers.

"It's about the kids. These kids are not going to get the quality of education in these types of special classes and some kids learn different ways and that's what we do to help the child succeed," said Dawn Murphy, Toledo Federation of Teachers.

Then, a group of concerned citizens took to the steps of district headquarters, waving a petition to call for a vote of "no confidence" in TPS's elected officials.

"The failure to be compliant with the Open Records Law of Ohio-- also known as the Sunshine Laws, the failure to demonstrate fiscal soundness in making business decisions and their disingenuous representation that their efforts are for the students," said Sue Terrill, Committee to Save Libbey High School.

Once inside the meeting, the unrest continued as more than 20 people took to the microphone to express concerns-- including young students.

"Most of the kids I know say they wouldn't like our music and gym classes as much if the teachers were gone," said 9-year-old Lucy Arrigo.

Speakers also raised a new problem. TPS is considering the elimination of the district's one Hispanic Outreach position-- something parents and community leaders say is vital for the more than two thousand Latino students in TPS.

"Without this program, my son would have been a high school dropout," said Anna Maria Ponce. "Easily he could have been swayed to join a gang, sell drugs, carry a gun, kill somebody, be in prison. Without this program, my son would not have gotten to where he is today."

After the public comment period the TPS board met in executive session.

Their reasons for making all of these unwelcome changes to the district have to do with the massive budget gap they are working to fill.

To get a copy of a petition for "no confidence", email Sue Terrill at