Hochreiter looks back at time spent at ECSD
After almost seven years with the Elmira City School District, the superintendent is closing the Twin Tiers chapter of his life and moving on to Westchester County. Joe Hochreiter spoke about his decision Friday. As YNN's Katie Husband tells us, though Hochreiter is moving to a new district, schools everywhere are facing many of the same challenges.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- From Chemung County to Westchester County, Joe Hochreiter says his decision to leave the Elmira City School District is bittersweet.
Though he faced challenges in his years as superintendent, Hochreiter is happy he was able to make improvements even when faced with historic cuts.
"Our graduation rate is up about ten points, our ELA scores in the elementary, middle school and high school are up, we have more students taking AP courses and advanced courses in our high schools than we did four years ago," Hochreiter said.
And parents noticed the positive direction the district was heading in.
"It was getting a little bit better,” Tori Haight said. “There's still a lot going on, but we are trying to help out him with making the schools better and safer for kids."
However, the district was forced to cut over one hundred positions in the last couple of years because of rising budget deficits.
Haight said, "I really do think it's a state issue because it's not just Elmira City School District going through that, it's Corning, it's Rochester, it's everybody and there's a lot of kids without extracurricular classes, which gives them enough time to go into the gangs and stuff and that's not very good."
Hochreiter says districts all across New York State, not just here in Elmira, will continue to struggle to get more funding. And parents say they need that funding to continue those important programs for their children.
"They should try to get more classes in for special needs kids and try to work on cutting more of the bullying and try to keep gangs and violence out of the schools," Haight said.
Hochreiter expressed that there can't be an even cut across the board and school board members will have to keep delving deeper into programs to find savings.
"Even though those decisions are unpopular, they're necessary,” Hochreiter said. “And that I think is a big issue to continue to communicate not only in Elmira, but across the state."
Although Hochreiter is looking forward to his new role at Hendrick Hudson School District, he will face many of the same challenges he did in Elmira. But he hopes both districts can continue to provide brighter futures for their students.
Hochreiter's last day is June 30th. The school board will discuss the search for a new leader at the next board meeting.