To the editor:
As the father of three teachers — two in the Lake Placid schools — a substitute teacher myself for 12 years and a taxpayer, I am greatly concerned about the proposed budget cuts and possible teacher layoffs in our school system.
Cuts in the special ed department make no sense at all since they would affect our most needy students who should get the most help. Many of these procedures are regulated by federal mandate and require huge amounts of paperwork. Shared services, as proposed by some, could mean sending our needy children to other school districts, thereby imposing further hardships on the students and their families, which is unsound.
Shared services could also mean sharing school superintendents and administrative staff. Cuts in these two areas could mean saving the jobs of two or three teachers who are really not long-term human-resource liabilities, as was suggested in a recent letter to the Lake Placid News. Also, do the superintendent’s staff and administrative staff really need so many secretaries?
Cutting introductory courses in such areas as math, science and languages and adding AP courses makes no sense either. Without introductory courses, mid-range students may not be able to take AP courses successfully. Some of these courses are Regents required. Yes, we do need to make cuts to meet budget requirements in these tough economic times; however, let’s not forget the teachers gave up half of their pay raises to help last year’s budget crunch and save jobs. Don’t make cuts in the one area makes good schools good — that is, the teaching staff, the people in day-to-day and hour-to-hour contact with all the students.
This brings me to suggest that any member of the school board should be required to substitute teach in both high/middle school and elementary school levels for at least a week each. Most of the school board members have not been in a classroom situation since they themselves left school! Most people do not realize what a really hard job teaching is until they have been a teacher themselves! In order for our country to regain its academic stature in this world, teachers should be paid at the levels of doctors and lawyers!
Lastly, it seems to me that in some ways things are backwards; the superintendent is hired by and works at the pleasure of the school board. I have always thought that the board, elected by the people of the school district, should be the ones making the decisions, not the superintendent.
C. MacDonald Grout