More than 16 speakers expressed concern last week to the Hampton School Board about proposed budget cuts.
Some parents expressed frustration, while others cheerfully expressed how much programs such as GEAR UP, a college preparatory program, have helped their kids. The board was also addressed for the second straight week by a large contingent of custodians and HVAC workers, who might see their jobs outsourced as the division looks to cut costs. The custodians and HVAC workers stood and applauded after each member of their delegation spoke.
But others grew more somber, such as Billie Miller, 50, who spoke to the board along with her husband Frank and their 12-year-old daughter, Mary Claire.
Mary Claire is a fourth-grader at Phillips Elementary in Hampton who has Down syndrome. “We are extremely concerned about the future and potential risks that will come from decreased instructional assistant support,” Miller said, at one point pausing as she choked up during her remarks.
The school division previously said special education teacher jobs were in jeopardy because of a reduction in the number of students who need their services. The district has seen a decline of more than 200 special education students in the past several years, according to Diana Gulotta, a spokeswoman for Hampton City Schools.
Suzy Scott, director of finance for the school division, said teaching jobs aren’t threatened anymore because the division believes it can now make all position reductions through attrition. But some instructional assistants for special education might still be at risk of losing their jobs.
“These positions are critical to meeting Mary’s educational needs outlined in her individual education plan,” Miller said.
“What my husband and I want for Mary Claire is an opportunity for her to have a choice in her education. The disabled have a right to equal access to the general education curriculum, but supports are necessary. Inclusion is a great opportunity for her to succeed, but it’s not fair for her typically developing peers to adjust their classroom experience to keep her on track or to organize her notes,” she said.
At the end of Miller’s remarks, Mary Claire read a few lines from paper: “I need my support to help me,” she said.
Hampton PTA fundraiser
The Hampton Council PTA will be bringing back some of the all-stars of the Peninsula to play in a fundraiser flag football game on Saturday, April 19.
Former Bethel High standout and NBA great Allen Iverson will be playing, along with former Hampton Crabber and current Baltimore Raven Tyrod Taylor. The game will be coached by former Phoebus High School Football coach Bill Dee, former Bethel High School Football coach Dennis Kozlowski, and Hampton High School Football Coach Mike Smith.
“The Alumni Flag Football Game is about more than just football,” said Pam Croom, Hampton Council PTA president. “It is about giving back to the local community and extending a hand to children in need.”
The proceeds will benefit Hampton Council PTA programs for all 32 schools in the Hampton City Schools division. It will take place at 2 p.m. at Darling Stadium. Registration is open to all former Hampton City Schools football players from the classes of 1985-2009.
For more information, visit http://hamptoncouncilpta.com/events.html or contact Croom at 757-754-5570.
Read more education news at http://www.dailypress.com/news/education. Visit the Daily Press Education Facebook page at facebook.com/dailypresseducation. Contact Pawlowski at 757-247-7478. Contact Bogues at 757-247-4536.