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Camillus mayor offers plea to save school jobs

Superintendent Chris Brown addressed the concerns of parents over the elimination of three part-time elementary level string teachers at a final budget hearing held May 4. Margaret Mercer, Jill DiBattista and Kristen Panzetta are all being let go. Mercer and Panzetta each have about 20 years of experience teaching at West Genesee.

"Of all the things that we are reducing for net year, probably the largest amount of information that I've gotten from parents has been the elimination of the third strings program," he said.

"What I want you to know as parents is this," he continued. "Having kids in the district and being a part of the process for years and years to come, these decisions were made very, very carefully."

Brown said he asked the Fine Arts Director Bill Davern to take his own children and imagine they are back in kindergarten.

"And you've gotta recreate a fine arts program that is still going to round students out and give them opportunities when they graduate, and this is what was created from that conversation."

Brown told parents and students in the audience to hold him accountable for this: "If you're a parent of a second grader, or you are a second grader sitting in here, you won't have third grade string next year; however, your child, or you, yourself, should see no difference in terms of what we offer, lesson sizes, or anything, from grades four through twelve."

Brown said that if the budget should pass on May 17, the district planned to bring back .8 of a string position "in order to do what we do. We also have to make some schedule modifications in the high school and both middle schools with the staff we have left to make sure we have adequate coverage in grades four through twelve."

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