Joyce Irvine’s last performance review at Wheeler Elementary School began, “Joyce has successfully completed a phenomenal year.” The superintendent, students and parents alike all speak highly of Irving, reports The New York Times. “Everything is so good about the school,” commented one parent. Despite such high praise for a difficult job at a low-income school, she’s being let go so that the Burlington School District can qualify for up to $3 million in federal stimulus money.
Under the current rules, the district has one of four options for schools with very low test scores like Wheeler if they wish to qualify for the government funds. They can either: a) close the school, b) replace it with a charter, c) remove the principal and half the staff or d) remove the principal and transform the school.
The Vermont district chose the last option, and even Irvine admits it was the least disruptive move, considering that she’s already invested six years of her professional career in making improvements at the school. “Joyce Irvine versus millions,” Irvine said. “You can buy a lot of help for children with that money.”
“I was distraught,” said Irvine, 57. “I loved being principal — I put my heart and soul into that school for six years.” Yet she still counts herself lucky that the superintendent moved her to an administrative job — even if it will pay considerably less.