School Board approves resignation
Steamboat Springs School District employee says she was fired
November 13, 2008
A former school district employee’s attempt to have her departure classified as a firing instead of a resignation was turned away by the Steamboat Springs School Board late last week.
During a special meeting Friday, the School Board voted 3-2 to accept former Steamboat Springs Middle School secretary Ginny Fry’s resignation.
School Board President Robin Crossan and fellow members John DeVincentis and Lisa Brown voted in favor of Superintendent Shalee Cunningham’s recommendation to accept a resignation letter submitted on Fry’s behalf by Judy Williams, the middle school’s office manager.
Board members Denise Connelly and Laura Anderson voted against the measure.
For her part, Fry insists she was fired, and she wants her departure to be considered as such so she can collect unemployment and pension benefits. Fry did not attend Friday’s meeting but later wrote an e-mail addressed to Cunningham and copied to the Pilot & Today, stating she was not informed by the board about the special meeting convened to decide the issue.
Fry, who worked at the middle school for 16 years, said she was removed from her job as secretary and was offered a demotion to a paraprofessional position. She said she refused the offer and gave her two-week notice instead.
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District officials characterize the shift in jobs as a transfer.
Fry wrote: “I again re-state that since I was told twice that I no longer had my secretarial job before I mistakenly mentioned the two weeks’ notice, that my comment is ‘trumped’ by the school’s firing of me.
How can one quit a job that they’ve just been fired from?”
Fry said she is trying to obtain a license to drive school buses for the district so she will be eligible for the pension.
Cunningham said the district’s determination that Fry’s departure was a resignation and not a firing had nothing to do with money; she said there is no difference in cost to the district. Rather, she wanted to remain consistent with district policies.
“We just have to be transparent. We have to be very clear about what occurred,” she said.
Brown said she voted to accept the resignation because, “after receiving more information from Shalee on this situation I definitely felt it fell within the definition of a resignation.”
Fry, like many school district employees, was employed under an at-will contract and wasn’t tenured.
Fry said she is looking into other ways “to further argue the point.” She said she will continue to pursue her options if she is denied unemployment benefits.
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