TUNKHANNOCK – Teachers, parents, students and some people in the community are outraged over news that the Tunkhannock School District is cutting 32 teaching positions. On Friday they made sure the administration heard their concerns and protested the cutbacks outside the district’s headquarters in Wyoming County.
“To do this it just erodes the quality of education, it`s unconscionable,” said Union President Christa Burke.
Many students are frustrated at how this decision could hurt their futures.
“We`re going to have to be in classes of 30 plus students and it`s going to be very difficult to learn what we need to learn,” said student Alissa Zamber.
Kristy Buchman not only lost her job, but her position coaching the girls field hockey team as well. Her players fought back tears as they spoke out.
“I do hope they`re listening, I hope they see who it`s really really hurting,” said Buchman.
The Teacher`s Union said the district is violating this memorandum of understanding which states no teachers would be furloughed through August 31 or until a new agreement is reached.
“We have a disagreement, they think they can, we think they can`t, so we have to get this resolved in arbitration,” said Burke.
In the contract, the teachers took a pay freeze for the first half of last school year to avoid any furloughs. They also lost 25 positions through attrition.
Now the Union is filing a grievance and hopes to get these jobs back for the teachers who want so badly to be in the classroom.
“They`ve lost a part of who they are. Teachers don`t teach for the money, we teach for the students, and for a teacher to not be a teacher, and not get to go into that classroom every day, is heartbreaking and heart wrenching,” said teacher Tara Neely.
Superintendent Michael Healey was not in the office during the protest, and said at his home that he had no comment.
Students want their administrators to know that they love their teachers and they are not going to give up easily.
We also reached out to School Board President Robert Parry, but haven’t heard back from him.
The Teacher’s Union said they will officially file their grievance Monday, when administrators return to the office.