Cazenovia Mary Kate Lonergan, the Cazenovia High School social studies teacher whose announced layoff at the beginning of 2013 caused such a community outcry that the school board recently shifted money from the district reserve funds to maintain her position, has resigned in order to take a job at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.
Lonergan, whose resignation was officially received and accepted by district administrators last Thursday, explained her decision in a letter to the editor published in this week’s issue of the Cazenovia Republican. She said her choice was one of necessity and not desire, in order to have more job security.
“After four consecutive years of living with the threat of losing my job here at Cazenovia, this year was the most difficult to bear. For the last four years, I have lived in limbo, worrying if I would have a job the following September,” she wrote in her letter. “I did not anticipate the unprecedented support I received from the board of education and was shocked to hear that my job would be maintained for another year. As deeply honored and humbled as I am by their gracious vote to maintain the position for 2013-14, the current budgetary and demographic situation makes it likely that it will be under review again next year.”
Lonergan said she wrote the letter to inform the community and to show her gratitude for everyone’s support.
Lonergan’s layoff became a major issue during budget discussion this past spring when its announcement in March caused numerous students, parents and community members to speak out at board of education meetings urging the board to keep her. She was consistently characterized as an outstanding teacher and a life-changing mentor.
The school board ultimately voted on April 22 to take money from the district reserve budget (also called the fund balance) and add it to the overall budget solely to save Lonergan’s job.