Updated 03/20/2013 07:18 AM
Binghamton CSD faces $5.3 million gap
The Binghamton Central School District is trying to eliminate a huge budget gap, and administrators are making some tough decisions. About 32 jobs are on the chopping block - one of which belongs to a popular orchestra teacher at Binghamton High School. Elyse Mickalonis shows us how students and parents are supporting him.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- With a budget gap of $5.3 million, Binghamton’s Board of Education is talking job cuts - a process that isn’t easy for anyone.
"I love teaching here and I love the students here and to just leave them. It doesn't benefit anybody and I hope it continues and that I continue to work with them,” said James Hsia, Binghamton High School Orchestra Director.
Hsia is just one of about 32 teachers who are facing layoffs in an effort to close the gap.
Thirty-four additional teachers will retire or resign at the end of this school year, and only about 11 positions would be replaced. Superintendent Marion Martinez said they did not want to cut any programs for students. Tuesday night students and parents spoke about the cuts.
"My orchestra teacher Mr. Shaa has been a huge inspiration to all of his students, even people who've known him for a short time. He's an amazing musician as well as being an amazing teacher. So I feel like it's going to be a real loss,” said Natalie DeVoer, Binghamton High School Freshman.
Dani Cronce of Binghamton added, "A good teacher is like a gem. There’s nothing that is better than a good teacher. They can make a student stay, bring them joy and make them excited to go to school."
The board is also looking to cut down on time for general elementary music instruction by half, combining modified sports teams between East and West middle schools, eliminating intramurals and more. Hsia says no matter what happens, he wants his students to follow their dreams.
"Just continue loving what you love to do and if it’s music continue doing it for the rest of your lives, because it’s important and it’s part of our lives,” said Hsia.
A public hearing about the budget will be held on May 7th. The School Board Election and Budget Vote will take place on May 21st.