2002-03-30 / Front Page

$10 Million Cut! 300 Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Programs On Block

By Howard Schwach

$10 Million Cut!
300 Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Programs On Block
By Howard Schwach

The $686 million cut mandated for the entire school system has come home to roost in District 27. The district has been notified by Chancellor Harold Levy that its share of the cut will come to $10 million.

Coming on top of a $6 million cut this year, that cut will be "felt and felt hard," according to Sandy Brawer, the district’s operations manager.

Some of the cuts being contemplated by the district to meet the mandate include 300 teaching positions, Project Arts teachers, money earmarked for schools meeting standards, money earmarked for ending social promotion, 20 assistant principal positions, the district’s innovative Professional Development Academy, a dozen guidance counselors, 30 paraprofessionals and school aides, special education teacher trainers, Grade Three Project Read teachers, 30 elementary intensive reading teachers, non-mandated speech providers and $300 thousand worth of district officer personnel.

"Those cuts will severely affect our schools," Brawer said. "I don’t mean to be grim, but this is reality and it is a reality that we cannot accept cuts this deep."

"This is clearly a grave situation," Steve Greenberg, the president of Community School Board 27 said. "This will affect every one of our students. It will mean larger class sizes in grades 4-6, it will mean bridge classes. I don’t mention any of these things easily, because this will be a very difficult process."

While many have stated that the cuts should come solely from district officer personnel and not from classroom personnel, Brawer says that it not possible.

"The district office cuts we can make do not approach what we need," he says.

There is some indication, however, that a number of people who work at the district office in administrative and training capacities have been told that they may be placed in schools in teaching positions or as administrators as a result of the cuts.

The district plan was due to Chancellor Levy on Wednesday, March 27. The Chancellor’s staff will review the plan and, if necessary, it will come back to the district for revisions.

The Chancellor has told reporters that he is not happy with the cuts mandated by the mayor.

"These cuts will affect every level of the school system more profoundly than any other round of budget cuts in recent memory," Levy told the City Council’s budget committee. "The cuts will be detrimental to classroom programs as well as after-school remedial programs."

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