Hire more teachers, union head urges

Watertown school board meeting
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 6:08 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Even with a $10 million increase to the Watertown City School District’s proposed budget, the teachers’ union says it still doesn’t pay for the educators needed.

Union President Kevin Todd spoke at a board of education meeting Tuesday night.

While the $92 million budget does add a few positions for instruction, he says more are needed.

Between Case Middle School and Watertown High School, Todd says students are spending an inordinate amount of time in study halls instead of in classes.

The reason, he says, is because there aren’t enough teachers.

Todd represents 355 people in the district, it’s a number he says has rebounded since 2012, but is still about 20 fewer than when he started at the district in 2006.

“Consider staffing, like seriously consider staffing,” Todd said. “It really is like the potholes out in the parking lot. We’re asked to do more, we’re asked to do more with less. When I started at Case there were six teams, we have five now. When I started at Case, we taught five classes a day, I teach six now. I’m okay with that, my bargaining unit is okay with it. But I look at kids today sitting in study hall, and it breaks my heart, when they should be in classes learning.”

The board has already approved the budget. It will be voted on May 16.

Board member Rande Richardson did say, however, that they are looking to get public feedback earlier during future budget processes, so changes can be made before the board approves a spending plan.