Students unhappy with school budget cuts

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    WEST MILFORD-On an ordinary Wednesday night, most high school juniors don't opt to spend their time attending board of education meetings. But this past Wednesday more than a dozen West Milford students did just that. They were there to protest a couple of recent board decisions. Most vocal were the opponents of a plan to charge seniors a $50 fee for a parking sticker next year. Among the critics was Junior Class President Corey Brandt, who brought a petition to the board signed by over 100 students. "The students shouldn't be penalized for shortfalls in the budget," he told the board. Other students voiced similar sentiments, but the parking fee wasn't the only issue that brought the teens out. Tiffany Simmons spoke to the board about rumors that the high school was no longer going to offer auto shop. And Adam DeRito expressed fear of lower involvement if the district starts charging for after-school clubs and sports. Once all the students who wished to speak had done so, Superintendent Glenn Kamp addressed their concerns. He said that the board was actively seeking a new auto shop teacher and that there was not an intent to close the program. The fees, he said, "are a matter of economics." He told the students that many area high schools charge for parking stickers and the average fee is closer to $100 to $200. He said there was currently no plan to charge for sports, but that some clubs will have a cost for membership to help offset the money paid to advisors. These answers didn't sit well with the students and all but two left immediately, some grumbling and a few even cursing as they left. Later DeRito spoke again, apologizing for the behavior of his classmates. Students weren't the only ones dissatisfied with budget cuts for next year. The board voted to move Joan Simpson, who teaches the gifted and talented program at Macopin School was moved to the resource center, effectively eliminating the G & T program. Gifted and Talented Education Association President Bill Hambor expressed dismay, saying he was floored to see the change on the agenda, as he knew nothing about it. Kamp responded by saying that both Macopin and the high school had to make cuts and unfortunately at Macopin that was the program to come under the knife. He also said they hoped to find money to replace Simpson with a part time person. The gifted and talented programs on the elementary and high school levels will not be affected.