Some in the community were stunned when they heard the news of staffing cuts in the Parsippany-Troy school district last week. The cuts were made due to overstaffed classes and loss of enrollment. Superintendent John Fitzsimons said that all middle school parents were alerted and will have full access to their child’s schedule on Monday evening.
Fitzsimons said that although “a small, but vocal, number of the community has unfairly characterized the reductions in the teaching force as devastating and highly disruptive(,) I respectfully disagree.” He added that the administration has kept the “instructional integrity of every child’s schedule and carefully followed acceptable personnel procedures. In addition, the teaching teams at each grade level remain intact.”
“I’m a parent and I have had three children go through Parsippany's school system,” said Parent David Comora. “My youngest is a senior at the Hills. I'm very concerned with the direction the current BOE is taking our school district. My children received an excellent education in Parsippany.”
“The changes seem arbitrary and without regard to the best interests of our children. It's not just that schedules were changed a bit; it's that students, some with special needs, who were in smaller classes that were geared toward individualized attention, will now be in larger classes," said Karen Levine, former Parsippany teacher who taught in the district for 39 years. "Teachers will be teaching new curriculums without having the time to familiarize themselves with it. What's the point? Saving money? Perhaps if that is the goal the board should look at administrative staff that need assistants who are making six figures. That's where austerity should start. A piece of my heart will always be with Central Middle School and Parsippany. I hate to see the students there short hanged because of the ineptitude of the board.”
"The interim superintendent needs to go, and the board needs to get on board with our kids education, or leave as well. He is quite eloquent with words, he has a phd in literature but he is a snake that lies right to our faces," said resident Carolyn Besser.
“This is happening at my son’s school,” said Parent Athena Mantzanas Kontominas on Parsippany Patch’s Facebook Page. “It's ridiculous these poor teachers started off the (year) thinking they would have a job and then come the end of September, these teachers are losing their jobs or taking cuts.”
JayandIrene Wieners said that "with regard to money for teaching positions, the staffing at the schools need not be cut or changed at this point in time because the budget had already been approved for this school year. This is a mismanagement of funds. Fitzsimmons proves beyond a doubt that he knows nothing about the nuts and bolts of education. I think every parent who attended back to school night would agree that a change in teacher and a change in room number IS a change in schedule for a child. All those teachers that gave out their contact information and helpful packets of information about their class are no longer teaching those children. All those parents wasted their time and now have no idea who is working with their child all day ... (Fitzsimons) he certainly did his best to make sure he doesn’t get any phone calls about it by pinning the blame on scheduling at Central. Make no mistake: This is no one at Central’s fault."
On Patch's Facebook page, Bryan N Annie Jetton posed the question: "So when do they cut the administration staff levels now that they have loss of enrollment?"
Comora added that “the idea of cutting the reading and writing program is terribly misguided. Other districts, like Mt Lakes just implemented a separate reading and writing program like ours, because the program works. Our current board majority is not focused on education, and that is a shame for all of the children who have their public school years ahead of them.”