TIOGA — Discussions became slightly tense Wednesday as Tioga school board members and district administrators focused on the potential future of a middle school teaching position that was left open from a recent resignation.
“Every time there’s a resignation or a retirement, we take a hard look at whether or not we need to refill that position,” district Superintendent Dr. David Hamilton said.
Hamilton explained that the next school year’s fifth-grade class will be smaller, so he was not recommending that the board refill that position.
“I’m not asking to abolish the position, just to shelve it, so to speak, so maybe we can use that position elsewhere in the future or something like that,” he said.
Hamilton noted that there would be no budgetary impact made by position, as it’s already been budgeted for in next year’s spending plan, and would not change the middle school’s programming.
However, board members were hesitant to make the change.
“I know this is technically a reduction in staff, but we worked hard to get those staff positions back,” member Pam Zwierlein said.
New board member Scot Taylor, who was sworn in prior to the meeting, also expressed doubts that not filling the position would not reduce the services provided to the middle school.
“If I saw a need for it in any area, I wouldn’t recommend this,” Hamilton said. “But I will not recommend that we fill that position.”
“I just see teachers as the most important,” Taylor said. “They’re the boots on the ground interacting directly with the students the most often. So I just value that over a top heavy system where we have more administrators than before.”
After a lengthy discussion, the board opted to table the subject for executive session.