May 26, 2015 3:55 PM
A group of high school seniors are fighting to save one of their teachers, who’s losing his job at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston due to budget cuts.
Evan Angus is a senior on a mission. With fliers and Facebook posts, Evan and a group of classmates are trying to save the school’s newest English and Modern Media teacher, Michael Corkery.
“I’m just getting the word out there that this guy needs to be helped,” says Evan.
Unfortunately, so does Sanborn Regional School District’s budget.
Increasing costs of healthcare, transportation, retirement and facilities maintenance, and decreasing revenue are forcing the district to cut jobs.
“About 70 percent of our budget is made up of staffing, so we had to reduce a significant number of positions,” says Superintendent Brian Blake, Ph.D.
6 in all—one belonging to Corkery.
“Maybe the worst feeling is looking at the person who’s telling you that you don’t necessarily have a job next year and knowing it’s not their fault,” says Michael Corkery. He adds, “The way things work is the last one in, the first one out.”
Senior Branden Simpson thinks hiring and firing decisions should be based on talent, not tenure. He also thinks students should have a say in who stays and who goes.
“So why not have us come in and we put our input in and see what happens,” says Branden. “Ultimately, it’s our future.”
Fellow classmate Michael Giardina says, “Kids deserve to have a teacher like that.”
Superintendent Blake agrees: “They’re right, he’s a great young teacher.”
Corkery is not driving this campaign, but he admits, he’s proud of his students.
“Besides it being endearing, it’s interesting to see your students work towards something. Especially, when you struggle on a day to day basis to get them to do work.” He adds, “There’s a special place in my heart for that effort.”
Superintendent Blake says he’s been making calls to his colleagues across the region, trying to help Corkery and the other employees find new positions. In the meantime, students can reach out to the school board with their ideas and concerns.
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