West Irondequoit residents come together to try to save cut programs

Updated: 07/14/2014 11:11 PM
Created: 07/14/2014 10:36 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Cuts have been made to balance the budget in the West Irondequoit School District, but can anything still be done to save the kids from missing out?

The school district’s budget was passed twice, but because the district went above the state’s tax cap, it needed a super majority, which is 60 percent. The district just missed it. District officials were left having to find ways to make $1.5 million worth in cuts. 

On Monday, a group of West Irondequoit residents got together to try and solve the budget issue. Dozens of people turned out to a meeting at Irondequoit United Church of Christ. These are people, many of whom were at that school board meeting last week to hear the proposed cuts. They say this is not the final word if it is up to them.

They call themselves WISE, West Irondequoit Supports Education. It is a diverse group of parents, educators and concerned community members. They all want the same thing. They want to make sure the children of this district don’t lose out on the education they deserve.

Collene Burns, organizer, said, “If you just look in this room, these are the people. These are the people that have a conflict tonight. There are twice as many people who said that they are willing to help, but they just couldn't be here. If this is any indication of what West Irondequoit can do when it comes together, I think that absolutely, it will make a difference.”

Collene Burns is one of the organizers. She graduated from West Irondequoit, moved away for 15 years, but came back because of her love for this community. It is the same for Jeanine Connor, the mother of a second and fifth grader in West Irondequoit. She wants them to have the same education that she and her husband received in West Irondequoit.

Jeanine Connor, parent, said, “We want the same for our children. Our children deserve the same. I want them to graduate with all the AP classes we were offered, if not more. I want them to graduate with the same enrichment and field trip activities that we had so we can continue the legacy of the West Irondequoit School District.”

The group created committees. Each committee will target an area or program that has been cut. A political action committee will look at and possibly challenge the 60 percent super majority rule and raise money to bring back programs, like modified sports.

Lisa Cole said, “I have to say, even though I don't have a child in modified sports, those are the kids that I’m really concerned with. When you have a child that is on the edge, they are really not sure which way they are going and they do a sport, it tends to take them often in the right direction.”

If you would like to learn more about WISE or how you can join a committee, you can call the West Irondequoit School District's Public Information Office at 585-336-3067.

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