To the editor:

Last week, the final reduction in force notifications for Granville Central School went out, and three teachers were notified that their positions were being cut. They include a technology position at the high school, a foreign language position also at the high school and a pre-Kindergarten position. These will join four other teaching positions that will not be backfilled when those teachers retire or resign at the end of this school year. That means that there will be seven fewer teachers in the Granville Central School District when we begin classes in September than we have currently working.

Placing this in the context of other regional schools, other than Fort Edward (which is in another situation entirely), no school decided to eliminate teaching positions even though they find themselves facing a worse economic picture than Granville. Those schools do not find themselves sitting on a massive, nearly $10 million fund balance.

As we lose teachers, we lose programs.

Let’s look at technology. We will be losing our only technology teacher. In this day and age, it seems absurd to discontinue technology education, especially in an era of working from home and increased automation in our production of goods and services. Granville has always invested heavily in our technology program, spending over $20,000 to train this tech teacher in Project Lead the Way in order to learn engineering and math methodologies to teach students the skills essential in those areas for the future. We have invested substantially in VEX Robotics competitions for students and, in recent memory, have made it to world competition every year. Students learn how to work on a team and solve real-world challenges. They experience new fields of inquiry and potential career opportunities. One-third of all graduating Granville students go on to work in an engineering or math field. What a loss for our students this will be.

Having a foreign language teacher is also relevant for today’s world. We now live in a global society that involves learning the cultures and languages of other nations and people. We learn to appreciate, accept and enjoy those who may not be from the same background. This is vital in today’s world where it becomes too easy to disregard those who are different from ourselves. We need to teach Granville students about our vast cultural differences and give them an introduction to the languages that are spoken around the world. This language teacher was beloved by students because of his vivacious teaching style and innovative teaching strategies. What a loss for our students this will be.

Pre-Kindergarten education is known to be essential for the later educational success of our students, especially in areas that have higher than normal rates of poverty. Granville children benefit immensely from early and frequent intervention during their primary years of learning. It makes later learning so much easier and successful. We place some of our most vulnerable children at risk of not receiving essential early intervention services with the loss of a pre-K teacher. What a loss for our students.

In light of all that our students will be losing with the elimination of these three teaching postions, it would seem that the BOE of Granville could find the money to retain these invaluable teachers somewhere in that large pot of money called the fund balance. It is time that the parents, the community members and the employers of Granville ask the BOE to put students’ quality of education first on their list of considerations and responsibilities.

Students’ educational welfare should take precedence over hoarding money.

Lisa Davidson, GTA president

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