Here we go again

Here we go again. The Loyalsock Township School District is recommending that full-time educational aide (paraprofessional) positions be cut to half-time as they also did last year. The difference this year is that the recommendation was not made until the preliminary budget, which included these positions, was passed and 2 days after the aides who will be affected by this decision had already been given their new 4 year contracts. How is that for transparency and open public debate?

The salary for a full time aide is approximately $14,000 to $15,000/year plus benefit which is probably around $5,000. According to public record the previous cost for administrative salaries (11 administrators), excluding benefits, was approximately $850,000/year. Members of the administration will be receiving anywhere from a 1% to 4% raise. If you estimate that the average raise is 2% that will raise administrative salaries by $17,000 to a total of $867,000. Benefits add an estimated $297,500 to the cost for a grand total of $1,164,500. We have around 1,400 students in our district which means we pay approximately $832/student/year just for 11 administrative staff positions, which does not include their support staff, to administer our schools.

Additionally, the following expenses were also approved this year: $8,900 for concrete work and $1,958.50 for plumbing for a concession stand at the new turf field; $7,460 for synthetic field cleaner for the new turf field;$6,500 for soccer goals for the new turf field; $3,500 for fence repairs at the new turf field; $11,000 for folding chairs with a sled base because the old folding chairs cannot be used on the new turf field; $13,980 for a pole vault pit and $5,101 for a high jump pit; $555,764.22 for a lease program for IPADS.

Loyalsock has an approximate ratio of 22 special needs student to every 1 special education teacher (22:1). The next closest in our area is 16:1 and others are as low as 11:1. By cutting the paraprofessional staff you are significantly jeopardizing the ability to meet the educational goals and needs of the special needs students.

One should ask what has changed since last year when the recommendation to eliminate full time aide positions was not approved. The answer is not much in regards to educational needs. The number of special education students has not significantly changed in either a positive or negative direction.

Remember, the mission of the Loyalsock School District is education.

Theresa Moff


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom