Outraged parents take on the district

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Capofarri says that teachers-in-charge are crucial, and that they go above and beyond the call of duty. They know every child’s name. They go out of their way to call parents to follow up and check in after an incident. And they will even ride the buses to check on bullying problems, she said, adding that she doesn’t understand why the district doesn’t cut positions that are more administrative and don’t have direct contact with students.

“These are the people who welcomed our kids back [after Hurricane Sandy] with open arms and smiling faces, and reassured our kids that everything was going to be OK,” she said.

Weiss said that the district is not cutting the positions because officials think it is best, but rather because it is a necessity in creating a sustainable budget. “I happen to love the teachers-in-charge,” he said. “It’s a good concept; they do an excellent job. The motive for even looking at these cuts has nothing to do with the job itself. It is purely financial.”

For the current school year, the four teachers-in-charge are making a combined salary of $536,597, according to SeeThroughNY.net. Weiss said that the starting salary for the new assistant principals is expected to be $110,000 to $115,000. The board is still unsure how many will be hired — whether it will be two or more — especially because of the additional elimination of the pre-K principal. But if the district chooses to go with two, it stands to save as much as $316,000.

The choice to zero in on the teachers-in-charge, and not other administrative positions such as program directors, was based partly on the new Annual Professional Performance Review and curriculum requirements, said Weiss. The district’s biggest focus has been on preserving academic programs, because that is what provides “direct education,” he said. The teachers-in-charge are not tied directly to curriculum, and the district needs to preserve the people who are experts in the new curriculum requirements and who are authorized to do teacher evaluations under the new system.

“When you’re in a time of change, curriculum-wise, you need subject area specialists who are in the position of helping the district adapt to those new changes,” Weiss said.

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