BLOOMINGTON — Marc Tiritilli, who narrowly lost the race for Normal mayor last year, is being fired as a physics teacher at Bloomington High School to the disappointment of numerous students.
The Bloomington District 87 school board voted unanimously Wednesday to issue reduction-in-force (RIF) dismissal notices to 19 full- and part-time teachers, paraprofessionals and school staff, including Tiritilli.
“I feel there has been some kind of misunderstanding,” Tiritill, who also is technical director for the theater department, told the board.
The dismissals will take effect at the close of the 2017-18 school year, but some who are dismissed may be rehired if funding is available.
Although RIF dismissals can be for a variety of reasons, including loss of funding, Tiritilli and another teacher were listed as “termination for cause.”
Tiritilli said he was told by BHS Principal Tim Moore that his dismissal was tied to Tiritilli’s persistence to save money on a theater lighting project.
“I saw an opportunity where district could save significant amount of money,” said Tiritilli to the board. “I tried to make some people aware. I might have not gone through the proper protocol on that and I’m sorry. That was an ignorant mistake on my part.”
After the meeting, Tiritilli wouldn’t comment further on the reason he believed he was being fired.
Superintendent Barry Reilly also refused to comment on the cause of termination, citing confidentiality for personnel matters.
“I have no ill will toward anyone,” Tiritilli said in conclusion to the board. “It has been a wonderful time and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”
More than 40 students and some parents attended the meeting, most wearing stickers that said “Marc Tiritilli for BHS.”
After the board approved the dismissal of Tiritilli and other employees, nearly 20 students stepped up to ask that Tiritilli be offered his position back next year.
“I hope if you have the option to rehire him back, you do. I know the student body really values him more than just a teacher, but he is also a friend,” said student Luke Edwards.
Student Jordyn Coyle said the district’s mission is to challenge, support and inspire students.
“He challenges students in the classroom. He supports students in extracurriculars. He has inspired students to think outside the box,” said Coyle.
Additional students went on to say Tiritilli inspired them to pursue theater sound design and physics classes in college. Many grew emotional, saying he pushed them to do better in classes, opened his classroom doors when students were facing problems at home, attended their art shows and speech performances and helped them overcome thoughts of suicide and anxiety.
Reilly said qualified candidates can reapply.
Tiritilli said he “would reconsider” reapplying for a teaching position next year at BHS. He also said he plans to run for Normal mayor again.