Johnston City Teacher: Keep Art in School

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By Hilary LeHew

JOHNSTON CITY -- A Johnston City teacher prepares to lose her job after the school board voted to cut its art program. It's just one of a handful of cuts the board made Thursday night.

School leaders say the downsize is necessary to make up for a $1.5 million state funding shortfall. It's a move that has many Johnston City teachers and students upset.

Kathy Rushing and Nicholle Grant both spoke against the cuts during the board meeting.
 
"I felt scared for my teachers and for my future," says Grant.
 
Rushing explains, "Really helpful for me to hear my kids talk about how the program affected them." 
 
Despite their efforts, the board was forced to reduce the budget by $900,000 by eliminating three electives and a handful of teachers, including Rushing.
 
"As a teacher who gets cut, you automatically feel like you're not a good teacher; it's because you're not good enough," she explains.
 
Grant adds, "I felt heart-broken because nobody deserves to lose their job, and we as students don't deserve to have our education taken away."
 
At 15 years old, Grant sits at the top of her sophomore class wondering about her school's future.
 
"I know a lot of my friends are not going to be attending Johnston City High School next year, if their families will let them leave," she insists.
 
Without electives like art, which was already reduced to four hours last year, Grant says opportunities for others to shine will lessen.
 
"Not every student is great at math or science or English, and electives make kids feel like they can excel," she says.
 
"They're pretty much telling those kids your career choice is not acceptable," adds Rushing.
 
Rushing fears that down the road Johnston City will have wonderful new facilities with nothing to support them.
 
"The kids are going to be sitting in those fancy bleachers teaching each other, because they're not going to have any teachers teaching them."
    
At the end of this school year, six teaching positions will be eliminated, along with art, home ec, golf, and computer technology electives.
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