Protests, as T.I. eyes teacher cuts

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 9:33 AM EDT
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CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Students, parents and teachers are protesting the possibility of cuts in the Thousand Islands School District.

A crowd gathered at the Thousand Islands school board meeting Tuesday night, after learning of plans by the school district to trim up to eight teaching positions.

“This is more than just the bottom line of a budget. This is about our kids their future and the future of our communities,” said Ryan Kendall, a T.I. teacher.

On April first, eight T.I. teachers were told that they might lose their jobs next school year.

Some vacant positions also may not be filled.

The positions span from elementary to high school level, and without them, the district may not be able to offer college courses, electives, and some special education services.

“Many of our current teachers that could be cut have 10 or 12 year of experience and that’s a great loss,” said Alison Lindsey a French teacher.

“We’re in great financial shape as a district and to cut programs, to take teachers away from students, it just to me as an educator it just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Wendell Putnam, a global history teacher.

As for the school board’s reasoning for the cuts, they say there’s been a dip in student enrollment.

The board says there’s been a nine percent decline in enrollment since last school year, and since 2005, enrollment has dropped by 30 percent.

But student Lily Gray, a high school junior, said it’s more than just numbers to her.

“To us, they are our mentors, they are people who have been there to guide us through everything - and I get emotional talking about it because I see them more than I see my own parents in a day, and to see them not be there next year would definitely hurt me,” she said.

School officials pointed out that as of now, the cuts are only a proposal.

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