Fight For Sussex County Tech School Programs Heads To County Meeting – Hopatcong, NJ Patch

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ — The fight to stop the Sussex County Technical School District from slashing three programs, firing staff and stranding upperclassmen, is moving to the County Commissioners meeting Wednesday night.

The district is considering abolishing positions in the Architectural Technology, Graphic Communications, and Theater Arts programs as a cost-saving measure, according to meeting minutes.
The district is trying to address a projected $800,000 budget deficit for the 2024/25 school year, according to reports. But the high school community, which includes students from across Sussex County, is urging officials to make up the shortfall without axing these three “shops.”
The Sussex County Board of Commissioners provides partial funding for the Sussex County Technical School, but does not have any oversight on its operations. Commissioners have asked the superintendent to give them an update on the budget at their next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, which will be held at the county administrative building, officials confirmed.
“There are unofficial reports this meeting is being held and/or moved to a larger venue at Sussex County Community College, which is incorrect,” officials noted on Tuesday.
Commissioners noted that they did not cut funding to the tech school this year.
The Sussex County Board of Commissioners will meet on Wednesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at the county administration building (1 Spring St., Newton, NJ).
Students, parents, alumni, and staff have been speaking up about how eliminating these programs would affect the teachers, and those pupils who have been working towards graduation.
This includes several hours of testimony at the board’s April 18 meeting, after which the board postponed any action on the cuts, as reported by TAPinto and the Sparta Independent.

A senior in the Graphics shop also started a petition to save the department, saying that dozens of students may be unable to graduate if the arts shops are closed.

“The opportunities presented by these shops are incredible, giving these students opportunities unrivaled by nearly any other school in the area in the New York City area,” wrote student Charlie Hudson.
Hudson’s petition garnered more than 2,400 signatures as of April 22.
There is another petition circulating which has 1,800 signatures, started by a student in the Theater Arts shop. Junior Sophie Smith wrote that the theater department is a “safe haven” for many of the other students.
“The Theatre teacher is a safe teacher for me and so many others and there is no shop like ours here,” Smith wrote.

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