Harbor View Elementary School on James Island is slated to lose nearly $30,000 in the 2013-14 school year, and that means it will have to cut its part-time computer lab instructor.
Parents are furious, children are sad, and both groups are trying to prevent that from happening. They’ve sent emails and letters to the newspaper, and they’ve started petitions asking the district to provide the money necessary to keep Susan Findlay on staff.
The school’s supporters have taken particular issue with the county school board’s recent approval of $20,000-plus raises for three administrators who make more than $100,000. They say this one part-time position benefits an entire school.
“Instructional positions and teacher salaries are more important to me than overpaid administrators,” wrote Deborah Turkewitz, a former parent, on their petition.
“I can’t believe the higher ups don’t want to pay for this class that benefits an entire school but they will pay for other schools to have IPADS!” wrote Susan Hill, another former parent.
The school district does not provide computer lab teachers as part of its standard allocation to schools, so principals have to figure out how to fund those positions.
About $18,000 of the cut comes from a pot of money divided among schools rated “good” and “excellent” on the state report card. The size of the pot didn’t change, but more schools earned that rating, so all schools will receive less.
Another $10,000 of its reduction results from students scoring better on the state PASS test. Last year, the school got extra state money because 27 of its non-low income students didn’t pass that exam; this year, only four of those students didn’t pass, so the school will receive less.
Findlay, a teaching assistant, works four days each week with the school’s 540 pre-K through fifth-grade students. She teaches everything from basic keyboarding to spreadsheets and graphs, and she troubleshoots computers.
Principal Lara Latto said she doesn’t have the money to cover her salary, and she isn’t sure how Findlay’s classes will be covered next school year. She said she’s still hopeful the position will be funded.
“The things she does are amazing,” Latto said. “(Students) love the lab because they learn so much in there.”
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.
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