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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Outraged parents take on the district
Online petition requests that Board of Ed reconsider elementary cuts
By Alexandra Spychalsky

School board trustees said they wanted to hear from Long Beach parents. Now they are getting their wish.

Antonia Capofarri, parent of two West School alums, has started an online petition to persuade the Board of Education not to cut the district’s four elementary school teachers-in-charge in an effort to close a looming budget gap.

“I’m not fighting for the teachers-in-charge. I’m fighting for the 1,457 elementary school children that we have,” said Capofarri. “It’s about the kids, and they don’t get that.”

At the board meeting on March 12, Superintendent David Weiss presented his proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year. He announced that among the positions on the chopping block are all four of the elementary school teachers-in-charge. He proposed eliminating those four positions and replacing them with two assistant principals who would float among the district’s four elementary schools.

Many of the parents and teachers who spoke at the meeting protested this cut in particular, saying that teachers-in-charge are crucial to their children’s social and emotional well-being. Capofarri decided to take the protest to the next level, by starting the petition. Posted on change.org, it reads, “Petitioning Long Beach NY School District – Board of Education: Stop the replacement of the four Teachers-In-Charge with two V.P.’s.”

At press time, the petition had 222 signatures. Capofarri’s goal is to gather 500 signatures before the next school board meeting, on April 9, at the Lindell School. She plans to present the petition to the board, plead her case and hope for the best.

“I think there are enough people on the Board of Education that have been in this district long enough and who are truly concerned for the well-being of the kids,” she said. “I’m hoping the Board of Education will tell Mr. Weiss, ‘Refigure your numbers.’”

Teacher-in-charge is not a position commonly seen in New York schools. Its primary role, according to Weiss, is to support the principal, manage bus and lunch aides and handle bullying or mediation situations.

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