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Teacher of the Year could be unemployed

P.E. instructor one of 13 to receive a pink slip from Buckeye Union district
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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An El Dorado Hills Teacher of the Year received a pink slip and is unsure of her future at Rolling Hills Middle School. Ashley Black, a physical education instructor, recently received notice that she may not be returning to work next year with the school. Black said she’s concerned about her students. “(I’m worried about the) prospect of losing the opportunity to positively influence them and build connections,” Black said. Black said she received a pink slip in spring 2009 but was reinstated before the 2009-2010 school year. Terry Wenig, superintendent for the Buckeye Union School District, said 13 pink slips were issued this year. “This is not common for Buckeye,” she said. “With fiscal constraints and declining enrollment in our district, we had to give out pink slips.” Wenig said it is possible that some of the teachers will be called back for the 2010-2011 school year. She said if enrollment grows, there is increased funding from the state and/or if the Buckeye Education Foundation is able to step in and save certain programs, some educators may be able to return. Because of the laws regarding teacher tenure and seniority, the least senior teachers are pink slipped first. Black fell into that category. Physical education classes will remain as they have so far at middle schools, however elementary school instructors will fill in following the loss of physical education teachers, Black said. This means that elementary school teachers will not only be asked to fulfill their regular duties within the classroom, but they will also teach physical education, she said. Black is currently one of five Rolling Hills’ full-time physical education teachers. She said she remains “sympathetic to the situation administrators are put in,” and is optimistic that her career as a physical education teacher will continue despite this setback. Penne Usher can be reached at penne.usher@gmail.com.