GOWANDA - Community members, students and teachers came to the Gowanda Board of Education meeting recently in support of a teacher whose position has been reduced due to budget cuts in the 2012-2013 budget.
Music teacher Colleen Stoffel's position has been reduced from full-time to part-time due to budget cuts for the upcoming school year. The part-time reduction will impact some lessons for students but it will not impact classes. Stoffel teaches 7th and 8th grade chorus and general music. While Stoffel's position has been reduced, she has resigned from the position.
Gabrielle McCormack, a freshman at Gowanda, came to the board meeting to express her feelings why Stoffel's position should be brought back.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Student Gabrielle McCormack spoke out at the Gowanda Board of Education meeting to bring back a music teacher position which was reduced during the budget process.
"One of the things I was concerned about was we had no choice in the matter which I know we don't pay taxes. We didn't even know our teacher was probably going to leave us. We had no idea. I know she had to leave to find a job. The day that she left was like a funeral house ... everybody was just crying. Kids you would never think would be upset, were upset," McCormack said. "I know things have to be cut but it hurt and affected a lot of people."
McCormack said many students did not have anything else to fall back on without music such as academics and sports. She also said students felt like part of their life at school was being taken away from them
"On behalf of the student body, some of us do really care and we love music. We wish Ms. Stoffel didn't go because she was an awesome teacher," McCormack said.
Lynn Guzzetta also spoke out at the meeting on behalf of students who did not have anything else to choose and they have chosen music as their career path. Jack Gaylord, who has a son in the music department, gave praise for recent music events.
"The Willy Wonka (musical) we've seen here recently and the concerts we've seen here ... it's so appreciated. ... There's that buzz in the crowd," Gaylord said.
Board of Education President Mark Nephew thanked all who came to the meeting and voiced their concerns. After hearing all the public's input, the board was faced with a decision to make. In order to restore the position, the cost would be $24,677. The district still has $102,000 from received state aid to allocate.
The board had the option to restore the position and add in the additional funding or restore the position and not increase the budget further. Board member Lynn Hammond asked if the position was not restored how the lesson schedule would be fixed. Middle School Band Teacher Debra Davis stated administrators do not know how the lesson schedule will be changed and lesson size can vary in size from four to 10 students or more.
At the board meeting, that was the last day to increase the budget. The board voted to restore the position back to full-time with a vote of 3 to 2. Since the board has seven members, a majority of four votes is needed to carry a motion. Board members Joseph DeCarlo and Sheri Wing were not present at the board meeting so their votes translated into an abstained vote. The motion did not carry and can be revisited again at a later board meeting.
In other business:
Robin Smith was approved as a music substitute teacher.
The board regretfully accepted the resignation of Carolyn Robertson as district treasurer effective June 30.
The following individuals have approved for election workers:Irene Burzak, Althea Herrington, Caroyln Hoppa, Esther Dittenhofer, Sarah Allen as election inspectors and Susan Edler as chief election inspector.
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