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Letters from the mailbag: Week of March 2

The FFA, a youth leadership organization that is intracurricular, is an invaluable asset. Students learn skills such as parliamentary procedure, public speaking and other leadership skills. They participate in leadership contests, career related contests and attend conferences around the state and country at which they gain invaluable experience as young adults. Agriculture students are eligible for an abundance of scholarships, as well as begin prepared for both college and the work force. They are prepared to fill an employment area that is short of employees nationwide, with hundreds of thousands of jobs left unfilled just last year.

At a time when our budget is in a crisis situation, cuts to non-academic programs and non-essential activities should be first. What was not proposed, and should be, are administrative cuts. The district recently hired an assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, a position that was empty for the better portion of a

year. That could have and should have remained unfilled to save money. Having explored the administrative salaries of Cazenovia personnel on SeethroughNY.com, the savings by cutting positions at that level would result in fewer teacher layoffs and program reductions. As was stated by Mr. Dubik at the recent Board meeting, we are friends and neighbors; seeing anyone lose their job is not what any of us want. But when it is necessary, we need to continue to first determine what will directly affect students and their education the least....Cutting teachers and programs that are vital is not the way to do that.

I can give you a litany of information about student successes that are part of the Cazenovia Agriculture program; I can tell you about Cazenovia agriculture teacher success; I can tell you about the accomplishments of my own family as a result of agriculture education and FFA; I can tell you about all the accomplishments the students in the program have achieved at the NYS Fair, State FFA Convention, National FFA Convention, and more...But ultimately all that really matters is the understanding that the Agriculture Science Program at Cazenovia High School fills a vital need for students, for agriculture and for the community. And if it is truly students that we are concerned about, and it is truly students that we want least affected by the budget cuts that are necessary, eliminating a program that has served so many and continues to serve many more, is wrong and should not happen.

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