Budget proposal would eliminate 31 Londonderry teacher's aides, 13 teachers
LONDONDERRY - A controversial proposal to eliminate 31 part-time teaching assistant positions from the district's elementary schools drew much discussion during Tuesday night's school board budget workshop.
With declining enrollments and the budget stretched thin due to recent changes in state retirement funding, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg admitted the move wouldn't be ideal, but it would save the district around $250,000 next year. The reduction is part of an overall plan to keep taxes level in the face of current budgetary challenges, Greenberg said.
The plan also calls for the elimination of 13 certified teaching positions district-wide, including two seventh-grade teachers at Londonderry Middle School and five elementary school teachers. Middle School Principal Richard Zacchilli said those reductions are necessary due to the anticipated enrollment decline next year.
Elementary principals Carol Mack, Linda Boyd and Mary Coltin outlined plans to make up for the cut positions next year by restructuring the remaining staff and having children work in smaller groups with the help of educational specialists if necessary.
"Sometimes, the children come to rely on that extra help, but it's not a mistake to have them be independent some of the time," Mack noted. Greenberg further noted that the district's teachers already meet regularly to discuss student progress and which strategies may be deployed.
"Our job is to identify strengths and weaknesses and to determine which adults are the best ones to deliver instruction to which children," he said. Still, board member John Robinson voiced his concerns.
"Even if we added parent volunteers and reallocated our resources, I can't help but think there's going to be an impact here," Robinson said. "And in making this adjustment, what are we really losing?"
Board member Leitha Reilly agreed. "I love this 'can do' attitude," she told the principals. "But I'd like to look within the district and find another way we could save $250,000. This is not just my emotional plea to save jobs: I'm just not comfortable with changing policy as the result of a budget decision."
Business Administrator Peter Curro noted that during this year's budget process, district officials did, indeed, consider all their options. "We looked everywhere, not just in the elementary schools and not just at the aides," Curro stressed.
Robinson said he "didn't want to see $250,000 added back in the budget either."
"But we may have to," he added.
Board member Steve Young said he supported Greenberg's decision, noting it wasn't an easy one. "I support the administrators and know they can be successful in this," he said. Budget Committee member Dan Lekas noted that budget cuts are never an easy decision, and perhaps it's best to let the voters have the final say on the matter.
"If you find $250,000 to cut somewhere else, someone probably won't like that either," said Lekas. "So I say we let this go to the ballot and let the ones who are paying for all this decide."
A public hearing on the school budget will take place Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at Londonderry Town Hall.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- All Saints' Episcopal picks a new rector - 0
- New rabbi joins Temple Israel of Portsmouth - 0
- Granite Staters set sights on Quebec pilgrimage - 0
- Pope begs forgiveness for 'sacrilegious cult' of Church sex abuse - 0
- Sudan releases Ibrahim, but insists she stay there - 0
- Emergency preparedness class offered for churches - 0
- Music minister Grinnell leaving First Congregational Church - 0
- Bishop makes changes to Diocesan leadership structure - 0
- Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, children being held again in Sudan - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Only a freshman, Kennedy excelled on the track - 0
- Looking Back With Aurore Eaton: The Manchester Opera House makes its stunning debut - 0
- Another View -- John Dumais: Mandatory GMO labeling is all cost, no benefit - 1
- What’s the rush? Executive Council follows Pelosi plan - 1
- On Baseball: Fisher Cats prove point - 0
- Evan Turner, Celtics see upside in new deal - 0
- Thunder take two from Fisher Cats - 0
- Ortiz, Drew (4 RBIs each) lead Red Sox hit parade against Blue Jays - 0
- Nashua settles suit over gas collection system - 0
Market Basket workers urged to 'shut it down'; deposed CEO urges fired workers be given jobs back
Shaheen's record: On insurance, it is dismal
Anti-SUV flop: Americans love utility
Police say boy, 6, found in getaway car
U.S. appeals courts issue conflicting rulings on Obamacare exchange subsidies such as NH's