SOUTH DAYTON - Teachers, parents and former students were among the community members showing their support for keeping positions at the Pine Valley Central School District at a recent meeting.
Members of the public filled the elementary cafeteria to show their support for not cutting positions in the school budget. The Pine Valley Board of Education discussed potential cuts at a previous meeting as a way to bridge the budget gap. The board of education proposed to cut a full-time CTE teacher, full-time guidance counselor, a part-time typist, reducing the school psychologist to part time and eliminating two staff development days for aides.
Shawn Howard, representing the Pine Valley Teachers' Association, said the PVTA is sympathetic to the decreasing numbers in district enrollment and losing money from the state. Howard said these four positions will directly impact students if they were to be cut.
"As a group, we would just like you to reconsider if there's any way we could in fact fund these four (positions) next year," Howard said.
Al Tanski, a Pine Valley CTE teacher, urged the district to not cut the position. He said he teaches "innovative classes" - including robotics, computer aided design, automotive technology, digital media production, transportation, and seventh- and eighth-grade general technology. All of Tanski's classes are at maximum allowable capacity, he said.
"Next year's projected enrollment, as provided to me by the guidance department, exceeds our current numbers proving that there is a definite student interest for the continuation of these programs," Tanski said.
Josh Bailey, a former student at Pine Valley, said information he learned in CTE classes has helped him in his career as a dairy farm owner. He has utilized design skills learned in CAD courses to design a home carpeting plan and remodel his house.
Another former student, Brenden Mosher said the education he learned from CTE classes has helped him with his family business. He recently designed a lighting system for a corn system on his family's farm.
"I could not have designed, drawn and presented that idea to my father - my boss - without design and drawing in Mr. Tanski's class. I urge you to keep a lot of the shop classes," said Mosher.
"There are a lot of kids out there that don't know what a hammer is or a wrench is, do not know how to design and draw or build a house."
Catherine Markiewicz, school psychologist, spoke on the importance of keeping the position full time.
She said the district needs to follow standards and requirements set by New York state. She said in the past, there has not been enough time during a normal school day to meet state obligations.
"I can say with absolute certainty that making my school psychologist position part time not only does a disservice to our students, their families and my coworkers, but also leaves the district exposed to legal recourse in those cases where an immediate and informed response is required," Markiewicz said.
Ben Westlund, a teacher and a parent, was in favor of keeping the counselor position. He said if a counselor is removed from the high school, there would be times there would not be a female counselor in the building.
"I think that cutting the counseling position is dangerous. ... The kids that have a family to talk to are not the ones in danger in this situation. Lots of kids don't really have what we would recognize as families to turn to," Westlund said.
Business administrator Deanna Schettine said the district will receive an additional $101,000 from New York state in foundation aid as well as seeing 70 percent restoration of the gap elimination adjustment.
The board of education approved not cutting the CTE position, the counselor position and keeping the psychologist position as full time. The board did approve to cut a part-time typist position with the duties being moved to the business office and cutting two staff development days. The district will continue its work on the budget at the next meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We have worked so hard over the last several years to keep everybody we could ... but we know what is important here and that's our students. We have done our very best for a lot of years and we are going to try to continue," Janie Waag, board president, said.