French is toast at middle school

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Spanish to continue after cutbacks

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — After the 2013-14 school year, students won’t be offered French at the middle school. Spanish will continue to be taught, however.

“We don’t have the staff to continue both,” said Middle Township School District Superintendent Michael Kopakowski.

Earlier this year, the Board of Education adopted a $43.6 million budget, raised taxes by 4 percent, made $1.3 million in cuts and eliminated several positions.

Two foreign language teachers were initially cut at the middle school, but one of them was brought back to teach Spanish. Officials needed someone who could teach English as a second language, and middle school Spanish teacher Steve Collings had the credentials.

“We knew Mr. Collings had a certification,” he said. “This way another person did not lose their job.”

That left a void in teaching French, so high school foreign language teacher, Lynnette Schroeder, will teach that language to students, only next year, Kopakowski said. Incoming seventh-graders, who took French last school year, can take the language for another year at the middle school.

“That’s the consequences when you have to make reductions in force,” Kopakowski said.

Students and parents got their wish. In May, students spoke at a Board of Education meeting, pushing officials to make sure foreign languages continued being taught at the middle school.

Students also submitted letters to school board members.

“I just want to say, some of your letters were great, wonderful, super,” said school board member Patricia Taylor at the May school board meeting. She said the letters would change her mind on the issue.

Foreign language cuts were also made at the high school.

Kopakowski said that not many people applied for the English as a Second Language position at the middle school and high school.

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