continued Proposed reductions to instructional programs at the elementary level included elimination of Challenge and Jumpstart programs and math academic intervention services and reducing the number of days each week students attend “specials” like music, art and physical education. Also up for consideration is the elimination of the fourth-grade strings orchestra and the loss of two classroom teachers, a reading teacher and a reduction for one librarian.
Board member Caitlin Navarro said she would hate to see the Challenge Program eliminated because it provides academic stimuli for those elementary students who are at a more advanced level. Students have to test two grade levels above their age range to participate in the Challenge Program.
Parents at the meeting said math AIS is integral for students at the elementary level to not fall behind at an early age. Assistant Superintendent Jody Monroe said Math AIS is no longer required and the state is now moving towards a less expensive Response to Intervention style with math that is less expensive and allows the child to stay in class, rather than being pulled out for the additional help.
Proposed cuts to the middle and high school instructional programs include eliminating or phasing out the Chinese language program, eliminating two librarian positions and reducing the number of sections offered in some core classes, which would lead to larger class sizes. Some electives would also need a larger interest in order for them to run.
Sal DeAngelo, the chief technology officer for the district, said $79,000 could be saved by reducing printing and BOCES services, delaying the replacement of equipment and reducing the hours of a computer technician.
Douglas has repeatedly stated that without challenging the levy limit, the district would need to enact on priority one, two and three cuts to close the budget gap. All of the priority lists can now be viewed on the district’s website.