Donation to Wildwood keeps teacher position


The Wildwood School Parent Teacher Association at its Aug. 14 meeting approved a $14,000 donation to the school to help address a budget shortfall that could have left a fifth grade classroom without a full-time teacher.

Wildwood principal Mary Beth Cunat said that the school was looking at the possibility of waiting weeks into the school year before it could start a search for a new fifth grade teacher. A substitute teacher would have to be assigned to the classroom.

Funding for the position would not have been available until after the 20th day of school, when schools with enrollment increases are allocated extra funds, Cunat said. The school’s enrollment should be about 10 students higher that the initial projection of 487 students, she said.

In order to start the search this summer, a diverse learner position was reduced from full- to part-time to create the funds for the fifth grade position, which was recently filled, Cunat said.

The school’s next concern was to restore the diverse learner position to full-time so that the school does not lose the existing teacher in that position, and the association’s donation along with a cut in the school’s substitute teacher fund should resolve that issue, Cunat said.

At the association’s meeting, Cunat said that while "all I’ve done" the last 3 weeks is focus on budgetary concerns, things appear to be falling into place.

"I’m really optimistic the teachers will have the supports they need," she said.

Last school year the association raised about $45,000, most of which came from a silent auction, according to past PTA president Laura Guenther. The association allocated about $15,000 for outdoor classroom activities, including the purchase of portable chairs and other items, and used additional funds for community activities, such as an "international night" in which different cultures are celebrated, she said.