The district has 28 tribunals scheduled. Each tribunal requires three panelists, and each panelist is paid $250 per day.
Board members decided to use the former educators during the June 9 work session - the same meeting at which they voted to approve a fiscal year 2011 budget of $819 million. That budget is about $127 million less than the district had the year before.
"We just decided because there are so many, just to schedule them," board Chairwoman Lynnda Crowder-Eagle said of allowing former educators to sit for the tribunals. "You don't need to vote. It's just a choice."
She said she doesn't see any irony in the fact that the job cuts, which were initially sparked by budget cuts, end up costing the district thousands of dollars.
"I think it's an unfortunate expense that we're having to do, but it's not illegal. With the budget cuts we had, it's not a lot" of money. Board members are not paid extra for participating in tribunals.
"It's just part of fair dismissal," she said. The majority of the employees who are appealing likely received unsatisfactory performance evaluations, she said.
After the tribunal makes its recommendation to the school board on each case, the full board will take final action, voting to terminate or retain individual employees.
The hearings are scheduled throughout the month of July, though some may be canceled at the request of the employee, district spokesman Jay Dillon said.
The cost will come from the district's general fund, he said.
Each panelist undergoes two hours of training by the school district's attorney, who also prepares materials, such as booklets, used in the training.
Most of the hearings will be conducted at the 514 Glover St. building, Dillon said. About 10 have been scheduled at the district's office across Fairground Street at 590 Commerce Park Drive in Marietta.