Union President: Class Sizes Will Grow in Cash-Starved Wyandanch

John Hildebrand

July 10, 2019

Originally published in Newsday on July 09, 2019.

Deep staffing cuts in the cash-starved Wyandanch school district will result this fall in many elementary classes of more than 30 students and impede efforts to boost academic performance, a top teacher representative predicted.

Scott O'Brien-Curcie, president of the district's teacher union, told Newsday that elementary class sizes, already large, are certain to grow bigger during the 2019-20 school year as the system reduces staff to deal with a growing budget deficit...

State lawmakers whose constituencies include Wyandanch have called for appointment of a state monitor to track the district's finances. Only in this way, lawmakers said, can the state be sure that its investment in the district, amounting to more than $45 million in annual aid, is well spent.

"The kids are here and we've got to figure out how to fund it, because how we're doing it now isn't going to work," said State Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford).

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Brooks and other lawmakers would authorize the state education commissioner to name an independent monitor for Wyandanch. The bill was approved by the full legislature during the closing hours of its session June 14.

Brooks, in a phone interview Tuesday, said he expects the State Senate majority leader's office to send the legislation to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for consideration by week's end. From the time the bill is sent to the governor, he has 10 days to approve or veto it.