STAFFORD TOWNSHIP - Parents in Stafford Township are worried about the impact the layoffs of 40 teachers and staff members will have on their children.
Stephanie Cofield fears school layoffs will mean larger class sizes for her child. "The kids aren't going to get the attention that they need," she says. "How's the teacher going to be able to focus with so many kids in the class?"
Nora Robinson's biggest concern is the elimination of people who greet students at the door and assist with security at Ocean Acres Elementary School. "It's very hectic in there on a normal day so I don't know what it's going to be like when there are no greeters there to help," she says.
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The layoffs include seven teachers, 18 teaching assistants, two child study team members, three secretaries and 10 school greeters. The cuts span all five schools in the kindergarten through sixth grade district.
Superintendent George Chidiac says there has been a decline in the district's enrollment. "They're necessary due to budgetary reasons," says Chidiac. "We also wanted to realign our staff to maximize our teachers' schedules."
The head of the teachers union, Nadine Burgess, calls the loss detrimental. "We are fearful of the impact this will have on the students and Stafford community," she says.
Chidiac says the cuts come primarily in the third and fourth grades. "Education is not going to be affected at all," he says. "We actually think it will move in the right direction forward."
The 40 layoffs take effect June 30.
The superintendent says more details about the cuts will be made available at the April 29 public budget hearing. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the Stafford Township Arts Center on McKinley Ave.