two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   NORTH ROSE (Mar 22 11) – Every school district in the county is grappling with the situation, and in most cases, it’s a gut-wrenching process.
Teacher Brie Stratton spoke to the North Rose-Wolcott School Board
Tuesday night. The eighth-grade Science teacher asked to keep her job. 
   When the projections of state aid – the foundation that keeps many school districts running – went from bleak to grim, school boards were forced to go beyond the cuts they made last year, the “easy” reductions that reduced some obvious expenses, and unfortunately sent some new teachers and staff members packing.
   This spring, the cuts are deeper. Experienced teachers who years ago would have been looking forward to a career in their district are now looking over their shoulders.
   And school board members, who never could have predicted their decisions would affect people whom they see in the market every weekend, are spending restive nights hoping for some magical relief from the budgets they will have to sign off on.
   The news about staff reductions is carried out in public, with numbers and percentages and graphs and charts. Sterile. Actuarial.
   But last night, a young mom put a face on teacher cuts in North Rose-Wolcott.
   Reading from a letter she’d prepared, quietly enunciating each word, and with one hand clenching nervously, Brie Stratton spoke to the board for five minutes. Based on the proposed budget cuts, 11 full-time positions are being eliminated district-wide.
   Stratton asked to keep her job. 

   An eighth-grade science teacher in the middle school, she will see half her job eliminated and as a result, she’ll be transferred to the high school.
   “I understand you have a very difficult decision to make,” Stratton told the board. She promised if somehow the board took a different direction, “you will not regret saving my position.”
   She talked about her dedication to her students, about the six years she’d been in the district, about the improvements her kids had made in standardized tests, about her coaching efforts with the jayvee girls’ basketball team, about her wish to not only keep teaching in North Rose-Wolcott, but to stay in the community where she’s made a home. 
Girls' Basketball Coach
Gary Lockwood
   And Stratton talked about being a tutor, about her part in the school community. She said she knew she had an effect on her kids, that she was not only teaching subject matter, “I knew I was instilling values.”
   Varsity girls’ basketball coach Gary Lockwood addressed the board, talking about Stratton’s dedication, about the hours and hours she spent with the team as a coach and as a teacher helping the girls stay with their studies.
   “Wow! To have a young person like this in our district is really a plus,” said Lockwood.
   Mike Virts, also from audience, said staff cuts were tough on parents, too. “It’s frustrating,” he said. “You know you have to have staff cuts.” He said so many young teachers get their first job at North Rose-Wolcott, get some experience, and move on. “Odds are they’ll go somewhere else,” he said. “But here we have someone who has settled here.”
   He asked if there was some coordination between districts where NR-W could have Stratton for half of her day and loan her to another close-by district for the second half of the day, to keep her here.
   Schools Superintendent John Walker told Virts that yes, superintendents and principals are always looking for ways to share personnel to keep people employed. But this was an unusual year. “The hope is that all our good staff will be employed full-time,” he said.
   Board President Kari Durham explained that each of the proposed cuts is examined on a fiscal basis only at first review. “We don’t have names,” she said. “This is our fiscal responsibility, part of the board’s job that trumps everything.”
   After that first pass on the budget, the board’s view of the cuts changes.
   “Believe me,” she told Virts and Stratton, “all these names (on the possible cuts list) have value for us.”


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    I ask you is this what we want in America. School districts that teach only the basics. Free quality education is really the only upward mobility in our society. It is what established a middle class. This is only part of the class war that is whipping th middle class. While their propaganda network fox news convinces the ignorant.

    At least the first night of the Libya war we pumped at least 110 tomahawk missles in each costing 500,000 dollars a piece. yeah, that will win America the future not education of our children.

    Posted on Wed Mar 23, 08:58:00 PM EDT


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