By Nicole Hui
Oct. 8, 2003
Over the summer, the district managed to rehire 200 of the 272 teachers who received pink slips last spring because of teacher retirements, attrition and the state allocation to schools.
A number of factors enabled the administration to rehire 11 teachers who received pink slips and hire new faculty and staff members this fall, principal Paul Cheng said. The school spent $455,000 from the Budget Crisis Fund to hire teachers and $24,957 to purchase supplies, according to the Parent Teacher Student Association and Alumni Association statistics.
Retirements and teachers who consolidated to work at other schools, rather than waiting for the final word in late July, created vacancies, according to Cheng.
The administration hired science teacher Adam Rosenfeld to replace science teacher Oscar Hollander, who recently retired, Cheng said.
My position was not eliminated, Rosenfeld said. The district could not find anybody to fill it immediately, and I received a call in June telling me that I would teach at Lowell in the fall.
The PTSA and Alumni Association also used their budget crisis fund to save many classes in danger of being cut at school.
The school managed to save most of the arts, with the exception of some courses such as painting and drawing, which received fewer classes as a result of low student enrollment, according to Cheng.
School board commissioner Dan Kelly credited superintendent Arlene Ackermans effort in saving classes from being cut.
She anticipated low revenues and developed plans with the teachers union, Kelly said.
Kelly also said that he felt the state managed the budget less successfully in comparison to the district.
The legislature and governor took long to develop a plan and did not address any plans to raise state revenues in the future, Kelly said.
Some believe that the district, as a whole, did not handle the budget well because of the lack of an active PTSA and Alumni Association at every school.
What the PTSA did was wonderful, but it disturbs me that it is setting a precedent of parents and alumni funding public education, Blinick said.
Some students agreed. Lowell handled the budget well because of active parent and alumni funding, but district-wide it was not the same outcome for everyone, junior Conor Casey said.
Others wonder whether the district is prepared to face a similar crisis in the future. Many students and faculty share concerns for future budget plans.
Im sure the budget crisis could happen again, Blinick said. The ups and downs of the economy are built into capitalism.