Parents plead for NSCSD to reinstate parochial school nurse position

— Parents of children attending the two parochial schools in the North Syracuse Central School District descended on the board of education Monday night to implore them to reconsider a decision they say could have fatal consequences.

On Feb. 24, at its regular meeting, the NSCSD BOE voted to cut the full-time registered nurse position at St. Rose of Lima School in North Syracuse as well as the full-time registered nurse position at St. Margaret's School in Mattydale. The board then voted to create one full-time position and one part-time position to be shared between the two schools. The reduction would leave each school without a nurse for about two hours a day.

The decision came about a month after St. Rose’s full-time nurse resigned from her position. The district has been paying a substitute. They opted to cut the position instead of hiring a new full-time nurse for St. Rose, which has many parents worried about their children’s health and safety.

“I have documentation of children actually dying [in schools where a nurse wasn’t present],” said St. Rose parent Tracy Amato. “At least six children died last year of… diabetes, allergy attacks and an acute asthma attack. Today, you had a student [at Cicero-North Syracuse High School] rushed to the emergency room [after being injured in a welding class]. All I can say is, thank God C-NS had a nurse.”

Superintendent Annette Speach said last week that the decision was made in order to be more responsive to North Syracuse district taxpayers, but several parents pointed out that they pay taxes in the district in addition to tuition at the private schools.

“We’re all taxpayers here,” said Michelle Michlovich, whose daughter, an insulin-dependent diabetic, attends St. Rose. “I’ve lived in the Cicero area for 10 years. I pay taxes. How are you helping me by cutting a full-time nurse for my daughter?”

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