Parents, students and teachers plead that Westfield schools reconsider teacher job cuts

Parents, students and teachers in the Westfield School District gathered Tuesday night in an effort to save a couple of dozen teacher jobs that are on the chopping block.
They all pleaded with school officials during a standing-room only meeting on the school budget that lasted over four hours.
Despite a student's petition that garnered over 7,000 signatures to save jobs in the district, the board voted to move forward with the budget that includes the job cuts.
Only two board members voted against that particular action item.
Many who attended the meeting said they felt betrayed after the decision to approve the job cuts.
The proposed cuts include about 15 teaching positions, eight secretarial jobs and a theater production manager.
Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Raymond Gonzalez blamed a $2 million budget deficit.
Students walked into classes at Westfield High School with heavy hearts Wednesday morning after finding out 24 positions throughout the district will be eliminated.
"To hear that they cut all these teachers, and even teachers that are tenured that they've demoted, I just feel like that's completely unfair," said high school senior Bella Conway.
Parents say the Westfield School District is the kind of place where people choose to live because of the schools.
"I'm shocked and displeased that a beautiful town like this, that I work very hard to remain in, is going to cut teachers' jobs," said parent Andrea Brennan.
The arts department is going to see the most cuts. Students said this is going to have a ripple effect on the community for years to come.
"I think Westfield underrepresents how amazing their fine arts department is because the marching band, color guard and the theater productions actually carry so many awards. They are actually nationally recognized," Conway said.
"It's very sad. It's a very sad thing, I mean, you know, to lose music and art classes, it's not good," Brennan added.