continued Ryan said the decision to take an unpaid day was hard for some.
“It’s never easy to do, but you look at the way things are and help out as best as you can. We all hoped this year it would’ve been better, but the budget gap ended up being worse,” Ryan said.
Terri Dutcher has been the chief negotiator for the SCTA for the past 20 years and said the union is willing to sacrifice pay “to save the programs that are so beneficial.” She said more than 50 teaching positions have been cut in the last five years and educators are noticing how it has “adversely impacted our students” through larger class sizes and fewer course offerings.
“It hasn’t really been a question of if we will do something to help, but how we can. We continue to advocate for funding and speak to politicians, but the concessions we have made for the last two years are concrete efforts that have clear results,” Dutcher said.
One department that has been nervous about cuts this year is music. Music Department Chairman Peter Cannistraci said the department will be losing two teachers due to reductions in the budget.
“Although I’m thankful that our program is being maintained, I worry if the remaining teachers will be able to provide the same service to an increased number of students. I feel like we’re already spread so thin,” he said.
Cannistraci said he was on board with the contract concessions because he wants to see the district’s students have the best opportunities possible.
“I think it’s so important for the community to realize how concerned the South Colonie teachers are about the quality of the education that our students are receiving. … With the reductions in state funding and increase in mandates, our district simply can’t keep up,” Cannistraci said.