Public not hearing the other side
Hi, I am one of the non-bargaining employees in the Springfield Public Schools whose job is being eliminated and discussed in the [recent] article in which Superintendent Dr. Alan Ingram announced cuts to non-classroom positions.
In the article it stated these are jobs that are duplicated elsewhere within the school district and can be effectively combined with another position or are obsolete.
I am writing today, not because I will soon be out of a job, but because the system will be eliminating a position that is not available anywhere else in the district. I have held a unique position for the past 16 years, working for the Parent Advisory Council to Special Education, or PAC. We are parents advocating for children, with special needs and my job is not something that anyone else has done, or can do, within the district.
In fact, because we are a state-mandated organization, whose job it is to "watch-dog" the district, to have staff from within the district "do this job" would be a direct conflict of interest and would violate special education law. The PAC, being an organization that helps support families through the special education process, is also not obsolete as the article points out positions that are obsolete will be cut.
As part of the Special Education Law, every school district across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must have a PAC. A PAC, or Parent Advisory Council, directs itself and its work and as its facilitator, I helped to give PAC its voice. We have held hundreds of workshops to help educate parents and honestly support them in their efforts to advocate for their children.
Yet, the article's opening sentence stated, "in a move to focus more on helping students learn.elimination of positions will be made." Parents of children with special needs are upset. They are struggling with a system that is not listening to their concerns and they come to PAC because their children are truly being left behind. Where will they go in the future? How many more children will be left behind, before the district realizes that the path they have embarked on is truly the path to the dark side for kids with special education needs?
I just think that there are two-sides to every story and the articles I have seen to-date, whether in your newspaper or others are not allowing families in Springfield to understand some of the changes that are taking place in the interest of saving tax-payer dollars. Penny wise, pound foolish comes to mind.
Springfield PAC Facilitator