High school should provide opportunities, not take them away, a student said.
By VALERIE BANNER
CORTLAND -- Emotions ran high Monday as students pleaded with the Lakeview Board of Education to keep all classes intact for next school year.
Although the school district is financially stable this year, school officials said they are expecting a deficit next fiscal year and need to cut classes to help make ends meet.
School board members also voted at the special meeting to cut teachers and other employees, which they will further discuss at the April meeting.
In addition to eliminating video production and photography classes, Superintendent Matthew Chojnacki said he has stopped most classroom spending and didn't buy new textbooks, to curb spending.
Treasurer Milton Williams said the school will receive about half a million dollars less than expected for fiscal year 2004.
Because of bankruptcy, Kmart hasn't paid about $300,000 in taxes it owes the school district, he said. In addition, the district has received $245,000 less than expected in state foundation money since Gov. Bob Taft cut that budget.
Next month, the board will look at eliminating teachers and other school employees. Chojnacki said Lakeview has lost 20 to 30 pupils each year for the past seven years. Declining enrollment means the school district needs fewer teachers, he said.
Three students from the high school video production class showed a video that outlined the class's benefits and reasons it should remain in the curriculum.
Addressing the board members after the video, junior Ryan Dorchester said the class teaches students to be responsible, to work together and to meet deadlines. He said it provides students with skills necessary in "the digital age we live in."
When Dorchester concluded, "High school is about providing opportunities, not taking them away," the 50 people attending the meeting burst into applause.
Chojnacki explained that the class was cut because of the high cost, low student enrollment and because it is a "frill course."
Dorchester said he lost respect for the school board and administration for making the cut.