2002-04-20 / Front Page

Cut 137 School Jobs ‘Cuts Will Impact Community Residents’

By Howard Schwach

Cut 137 School Jobs
‘Cuts Will Impact Community Residents’
By Howard Schwach

The District 27 plan to meet the mandated $6.2 million cut in services will delete 137 jobs in district schools, and many of those jobs are held by community residents.

"The budget cuts are a terrible situation and we hope that we can get many of them reversed," says Steve Greenberg, the president of Community School Board 27. "These cuts, however, have an ancillary impact as well. Most of those people who will be losing their jobs are community people. The impact of these will be felt in the community as well in economic as well as human terms."

"There’s not much more that I can say, except to say that parents have to get together to fight this," he added.

Among the jobs that will be cut in September under the plan are the following: Twenty-seven Project Arts teachers; twenty-two staff developers; thirty paraprofessionals; ten school aides; twelve speech teachers, three language coordinators; eleven guidance counselors; two literacy team staff developers; one educational analyst and six clerical positions.

While the district office has not yet discussed specific personnel cuts, officials told The Wave that "we have tried over the years to hire people from the community for many of those jobs, and it is the community people who will be hit the hardest."

Those officials estimate that up to a third of the people who will lose their jobs under this plan will come from Rockaway.

"There will be a lot of jockeying for jobs and bumping people with lower seniority, so it will take us a while to sort this out," the official, who asked not to be named, said.

While some parents have indicated that they believe that the cuts should come from the district office rather than from school-based positions, Greenberg does not agree.

"The district office budget is about $1.7 million, as I understand it," Greenberg says. "In fairness to the district office, that total is much lower than other districts with far fewer kids than we have."

"Could we get away with cutting a deputy? Sure we could," Greenberg adds. "We have to meet all of the chancellor’s mandates, however, and those mandates are not going away."

"I am not dissatisfied with the way the district addressed the mandated cuts," he concluded.

In addition to the personnel cuts, the district will also lose approximately $615 thousand in per session money and $65 thousand in per diem money. The per session money is used to pay teachers who work in after-school programs and during the summer months. The per diem money is used to pay substitutes when a regular teacher is absent.

There is a cut of approximately $200 thousand for supplies of all types as well.

A public hearing on the cuts will be held Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School, at 165-65 84 Avenue in Jamaica.

Greenberg urges all parents to show up and voice their opinion about the cuts.

"Parents should come out and speak out against these horrendous cuts," he says. "Right now, the people are the only ones who can reduce them."

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