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Nisky schools facing tough cuts

Heavy staffing reductions, kindergarten class size increases eyed

— Salasoo also said the proposed reductions to teachers district wide was “disheartening” to him. He said the quality of education offered and the variety of opportunities outside the classroom is what makes the district great.

“The teachers in this district are among the best and the most dedicated in the nation,” he said. “The loss of these teachers will greatly reduce the variety of subjects we have available, the high quality education afforded to each individual student and will increase the class sizes to ineffective numbers.”

Six combined classrooms, placing together two adjacent grades, is also expected to save $330,000 and eliminate six FTE positions.

Board member Barbara Mauro expressed concern over four of the 12 kindergarten classrooms reaching 24 students. Also, she was concerned about having one combined classroom of kindergarten and first-grade.

“I am uncomfortable with the 24 and I feel like we made a really big decision as a board last week to have full-day K … we want to give it our all to make sure it is really the experience we want it to be,” Mauro said. “I just want to give it the best shot we can and staying within the guidelines is one way we can do that.”

Deborah Shea, assistant superintendent of Educational Programs and Instruction, admitted 24 students in a kindergarten classroom wasn’t “ideal” but was confident it wouldn’t have negative results.

“I have such confidence in our teachers that I know they can handle that,” Shea said. “I have also set aside some of our circular money for our teachers to come together to try and overcome some of those obstacles.”

Programs slated for elimination include Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools, Freshman Health Seminar at the high school, Speech and Debate and the Explorers program, which results in saving around $210,000.

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