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Teachers question administration at LPCS forum

Educators express concerns about spending priorities

From left, Lake Placid School Board candidates Joan Hallett Valentine, Patricia Gallagher, Martha Stahl and Mary Dietrich at a recent candidates’ forum.

From left, Lake Placid School Board candidates Joan Hallett Valentine, Patricia Gallagher, Martha Stahl and Mary Dietrich at a recent candidates’ forum. Photo by Tim Follos.

— The proposed budget includes $100,000 for “computer assisted instructional equipment,” $136,165 for “computer assisted instructional salaries” and $146,800 for ”computer assisted instructional BOCES.”

“It just feels like it’s become teachers vs. technology,” one said. “There’s this technology push, and they’re letting go of teachers. This push for technology is so huge, but teacher support and small class size seems to be on the back burner. They need to work together.”

“The move to distance learning and computer learning, while I see the value in that, I don’t think that the majority of kids learn effectively in that way,” said Dietrich, who worked for decades as a teacher in Lake Placid’s elementary and high schools.

“The S.A.T. prep software program in the guidance office, I don’t know that it’s been utilized at all,” Dietrich said. “It’s very underutilized, and the kids that will use that kind of thing independently are the ones that will do well on the S.A.T.s anyway. The ones that would really benefit from it aren’t that great at independent study. If they have somebody with them to help explain things, it’s much more effective. We have to keep that balance in mind: Students learn best with that personal touch.”

“I already have an interactive board,” one teacher said. “I’m being told that I also have to have a ‘smart board,’ now, which is basically the same thing. I already have an interactive board! Do I need that? No. That’s $1,500 I don’t need spent.”

Hallett Valentine said that the school board actually whittled down spending on technology and that “the money that was left in was only to bring the infrastructure up to par.”

Dietrich quickly responded to that statement.

“The systems have about a 10-year lifespan,” she said. “So, some of the systems, we were at that limit and everybody knew they needed to be replaced, but for the statement to be made over, and over, and over, that ‘the school system’s equipment was outdated and we are 10 years behind’ is completely misleading. We’ve been cutting edge. If you talk to parents and teachers in other schools, they can’t believe what we have. To say that we’re 10 years behind is a falsehood, plain and simple.”

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