Is there a lesson to be learned?

It’s late Wednesday night and state lawmakers are passing a number of bills, including pension reform. Details are coming out in dribs and drabs. While most of this legislation impacts the state budget, the actual state budget is still out there, awaiting passage.

For a personal perspective on what state budget cuts mean, meet Casey Gannon.

Photo of Casey Gannon by El-Wise Noisette

Laid off from teaching math in the Greenville schools eight months ago, she is still unemployed.

Like the thousands of others across the state, she was laid off because the state budget approved last year cut aid to schools by $1.3 billion. The picture is dim at finding another job the rest of this year, and certainly for the 2012-13 school year because the state pushed a property tax cap onto schools while only restoring $805 million of last year’s cut.

“There is not a job to be had. I wish I had a nickel for everybody who said math and science teachers never get laid off,” Gannon said. “Actually, make that a dollar, because then maybe I could make my mortgage payment.”

Since being laid off, she substitute teaches whenever and wherever she can. She sees how class sizes have increased and offerings have decreased as districts try to make do. She sees help for students to meet higher standards is not keeping pace with what students need.

“I am really worried about where we are headed,” Gannon said. “How do we justify cutting these programs, like kindergarten and Advanced Placement?

With reports of the state budget being passed Wednesday night, combined with the news reports of cuts to schools in Marcellus, in Plattsburgh, in Corinth, and so many already reported across the state, I dread that soon Casey Gannon is going to have a lot more company as she searches for a teaching job.

Please prove me wrong. If you know of any math teacher openings, either email me at bsandber@nysutmail.org or┬ácomment. Let’s get Casey back in the classroom.

And to end on a good note, here’s word about Essex County funding after-school programs in Keene and AusSable.

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