Former Muscogee County teacher speaks out about layoff -, GA News Weather & Sports

Former Muscogee County teacher laid off: 'I just felt betrayed'


Larry Dicks is 57-years-old, and is just one example of the 113 people whose jobs were eliminated in the Muscogee County School District, announced as part of the preliminary budget at a school board meeting Monday, June 2.

The District stated that 69 school-based personnel will be laid off. Plus, the district will reduce 44 district level positions, and some of these are vacant spots.

Dicks has nearly 24 years of experience teaching in Muscogee County, and now tells News Leader 9 that he was let go on May 29, 2014.

Dicks taught health education at Richards Middle School, and he had just three years left before his retirement. Now, he is spending his days revamping his resume and looking for a new job --something he has not done since 1988.

"I just felt betrayed," Dicks said. "I feel let down, and I felt like I wasn't good enough for them. I was called to meet some officials in downtown, and they told me I was going to be released. I was shocked. It just shocked me, and I couldn't believe it."

Dicks said he never thought he would get laid off.

"I have a total of 33 years of teaching experience, and masters in educational leadership," Dicks said. "I was with the school district for 24 years, and I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was to just switch me to different school or something."

Superintendent David Lewis said 19 of the teachers who lost their jobs had poor performance or certification issues. Dicks said he never had a bad review or a negative feedback while he was teaching at Richards Middle School, and he is confused by his layoff.

"I have all the copies of my performance reviews with me," said Dicks. "Every single one of them are satisfactory. The lady who told me that I was laid off last Thursday said they were trying to cut back programs or combine some programs together. I just didn't fall into their alignment of the scheduling, but they never said anything about my performance being an issue."

Dicks said he will miss his students more than anything.

"My football team I coached from 2007 to 2008 dedicated the season to my mother, Dorothy Dicks," he said as he fought back his tears. "My mother died in 2009, and we didn't win, but we got into the championship. I'll never forget how much they mean to me. Even when I was let go, I went to the football field that Friday to pick up trash and check out the new seats. I wasn't employed by the school anymore, but I was doing it, because I wanted to make everything look good for the students and the school."

The school district did not say which schools and positions are among the layoffs at Monday night's meeting. School officials say the number of jobs lost can change based on critical needs, resignations and retirements. Those who are layoffs in good standing have priority to interview for positions, if qualified.

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