By ERIN ROLL
Concerns over staff cuts in the Montclair Public Schools continued at Monday night’s Board Of Education meeting, as Glenfield Middle School students and parents turned out to show their support for a popular math teacher.
This week, the Glenfield community learned that there was a possibility that seventh-grade math teacher Faisal Sheikh’s position may be eliminated because of budget cuts.
A large group of students, under the leadership of seventh-grader Mia Cutler, brought signs showing their support for Sheikh, and some of the students came to the microphone to speak about how Sheikh had been able to make the learning experience enjoyable for them. Parents, meanwhile, described how the teacher had been able to rekindle an interest in math in their children.
The Montclair school district is facing the prospect of eliminating at least 30 teachers, as well as 50 paraprofessionals, for the 2017-18 school year. The proposed staff cuts have generated intense criticism from parents and community members since they were first announced this spring.
Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak told the audience that the district had had to make difficult decisions on staffing because of the budget situation. Up until this year, she said, Montclair had had a surplus to cushion them from the financial troubles affecting other districts. “That surplus has run out,” she said.
She said that the district wished, especially after hearing the words of parents and students, that they could keep every staff member. She noted, however, that the district is reviewing how much money will be available, following retirements and resignations, to hire back staff members.
Monday’s meeting was not broadcast live due to a technical difficulty resulting from that evening’s thunderstorm. But Board President Laura Hertzog said that the meeting tape would be available.
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