Westfield parents, students and teachers push against planned job cuts
Multiple jobs are on the chopping block at one of New Jersey’s large school districts, and parents and teachers gathered Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to save them.
Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Raymond Gonzalez said there will be positions cut from the district due to a $2 million budget deficit.
In response to the announcement, sophomore Skyler Lipkind started a petition and collected around 7,000 signatures to express opposition to the layoffs.
"I personally just didn't want to see the teachers who I've loved and grown with leave,” Lipkind says.
Teachers and parents at the meeting Tuesday night also expressed their frustrations at the decision. Many believe the arts are bearing the brunt of the layoffs and urged the board to find another way to balance the budget.
While the superintendent insists students won't be affected, veteran teachers don't buy it.
“Our classes are going to be overloaded, they're going to be bigger, we're going to be able to teach less. They're going to have a less connected meaningful experience,” says art teacher Frank Thompson.
A vote on the budget with the cuts was scheduled for Tuesday, but the board meeting ran late into the night.