Decatur schools to 'hold off' on planned reassignment of specialists to classrooms
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Decatur schools to 'hold off' on planned reassignment of specialists to classrooms

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DECATUR — A day after announcing that some specialists would be moved to teaching roles to help with an educator shortage, the Decatur school district is backing off the plan. 

In a statement on its Facebook page Tuesday, the district said it reached the decision after speaking with leaders of the Decatur Education Association, the union that represents teachers. 

"As always, our primary focus is on what’s best for our students," the district wrote in the post. "We will continue to work with the DEA and our teachers to find solutions to support our schools that have the greatest needs."

Previously, Superintendent Paul Fregeau on Monday had said the reassignments would take place Jan. 22. They were meant to address a teacher shortage that has left more than 70 unfilled positions in Decatur schools. 

The plan would have affected 14 employees, moving them to the buildings most in need: Hope Academy, Stephen Decatur Middle School and Franklin School, officials said. 

The affected employees were instructional specialists, who work throughout the district mentoring and modeling effective strategies for teachers; reading recovery specialists, who provide extra help in reading for individual students; and alternative education staff, who work at Harris School. Employees in these categories are typically certified teachers with advanced training. 

Fregeau had called the measure a "last resort" and said the district needed to take "drastic steps" to meet students' needs. 

"District leadership values the work done by our support staff who will be reassigned," he had said in a statement. "But we know that they will make a difference in our schools that have the greatest need." 

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