Parents show support for teacher

George Murphy is a music teacher at Millstone Elementary School. For now.

By: Scott Morgan
   MILLSTONE — George Murphy is a music teacher at Millstone Elementary School. For now.
   Next year, unless a personnel policy decision changes, Mr. Murphy will not be part of the school. But there is strength in numbers, and the numbers apparently do not agree with the policy decision.
"About 800 of us feel differently," said Laurie Lohne, a mother of three children in the school district, of the decision to let Mr. Murphy go. She said she believes the district would be losing a valuable asset if Mr. Murphy was not returned next year.
   In an effort to keep that from happening, Ms. Lohne has helped organize a petition campaign to express support for Mr. Murphy.
   Ms. Lohne said she submitted the 800-plus signatures to Superintendent William Setaro, who said he has taken them into consideration. Support for the petition, she said, is almost total.
   "Nobody has refused to sign," Ms. Lohne said, except for a few teachers unwilling to get involved in a personnel issue.
   Going a step further, Ms. Lohne said her son, Westin, a first-grader at Millstone Elementary School, offered financial assistance.
   "I have money in the bank," Ms. Lohne said her son told her. "I’ll pay for him."
   Dr. Setaro said the cutting of Mr. Murphy’s part-time position (as well as another part-time art teaching position currently held by Ruth Ann Walsh), was the result of rescheduling within the school day. He said many teachers at Millstone Elementary School have been performing lunch duty and that the school district decided to readjust schedules, thus eliminating the need for the extra position.
   He added the decision has nothing to do personally with Mr. Murphy. He said he has submitted the petition to the school board for review. The school board was expected to discuss the issue at its Tuesday meeting.
Dr. Setaro said some considerations are to offer Mr. Murphy a chance to substitute teach or direct extracurricular activities.
   Mr. Murphy, who recently directed the elementary school’s production of "Guys and Dolls" has said he was unhappy to see his position cut. He was not available for comment this week.
   Mr. Murphy also is a part-time music teacher at Roosevelt Public School.