Tonawanda News

Local News

April 25, 2014

NT: Union, school differ over numbers

Tonawanda News — Following a budget adoption that includes additional cuts to its employee ranks, North Tonawanda United Teachers President Bonnie Zimmerman said the district hierarchy hasn’t gone far enough to eliminate some of its own. 

As contrPact negotiations continue between the union and the city’s school district, union president Zimmerman said that while her union has seen cuts to nearly 100 staff members over the last decade, largely in response to slumping enrollment and the loss of state aid, the number of administrators has remained steady. 

According to Zimmerman, there are currently 19 administrators at six schools in the district, the same number employed in 2004 at eight schools and with a student enrollment of 4,472. Two schools have closed over the last nine years, while enrollment numbers have dropped nearly 20 percent, with a current enrollment of 3,661. 

“Even with the building closings their numbers are growing larger,” Zimmerman said, in a recent interview. “We’ve had cuts to teachers, classroom assistance, but what seems to stay unscathed are athletics and the administrators.” 

Superintendent Greg Woytila, who disputed Zimmerman’s figures on the number administrators, stated the total was slightly lower, adding that the number of those employed as administrators will drop in the next two years due to attrition. Eight administrators are currently employed in the district office excluding support staff such as secretaries. 

“They’re a little bit off on that,” he said. “They’re counting Alan Getter as full time. However the overall number will drop in the next year or two.”

Woytila also noted the district is currently training for the replacement of “one or two” administrators expected to retire. 

“That’s kind of the plan down the road,” he said. “It’s in the works for future savings.”  

Zimmerman said that despite the consolidation of several schools since 2004, the number of administrators has fluctuated between 19 and 21. 

She also pointed to efforts made by her union to support various budgets adopted by past boards’ even as programs and those represented by her union have been slashed. She added that she understands that many of those cuts were necessary due to a decrease in enrollment. 

“What we would like to see is an equitable distribution of cuts across the board,” she said. 

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