Troy School District should retain assistant principal
It's not everyday a school board meeting is filled with people fighting for what they believe in. In fact, in the Towanda School District recently, there was a lot of talk throughout the community about people being very upset about a physical education teacher position being cut. There was even a support petition being circulated on social media. But no one brought those opinions to the board meeting.
That's not the case in Troy.
Tuesday's evening's school board meeting was packed with those opposed to the proposed elimination of the assistant elementary principal; a position currently held by Mr. Che Regina. As assistant principal, Mr. Regina is also the athletic director and the school's development director. The position is on the chopping block along with several other positions and programs to the tune of $415,942 in savings for the district.
During the public comment period at the meeting, many people took turns voicing their support of retaining the position and of Mr. Regina.
Though speakers made it clear that they understood Troy's financial concerns, they offered a host of thoughts in support of Mr. Regina.
Among those who spoke were Troy students. One recalled how Mr. Regina has been at games, concerts and other district events, and how students can go to him with issues or concerns and "be listened to and taken seriously." She also cited his positive role in re-negotiating the contract for home football games with Alparon Park.
Troy's head football coach offered praise for Mr. Regina going above and beyond for the football program, adding, "My coaching staff and I are willing to donate our monies back to the district, there's five of us," he said. "I don't feel that good people should be lost in this district." More coaches, as well as other speakers echoed that support, some also offering to give up coaching pay or make donations to Mr. Regina's salary.
A teacher from the Troy Intermediate School read a letter on behalf of the faculty, saying Mr. Regina is a great role model for the staff and students and handles all situations, no matter how challenging, with the goal of finding a fair solution. She said he has great rapport with students, as well as adults, boosts morale and added the TIS staff feels, "The safety, education, stability and organization of this building and district programs will all be negatively affected by cutting his position."
Perhaps the best way of summing the situation up came from former Pa. Senator Roger Madigan. His son read a letter he wrote, saying, "You have to look past the hard numbers and determine if the elimination or redistribution of revenue is going to have much longer-term effects, either positive or negative, than what appears on the surface." He added that the elimination of Mr. Regina's position might make immediate fiscal sense on paper, but "would be disastrous for the school district and our children long-term."
It's a fact that state funding for all school districts has been diminished. And in Troy, retirement, healthcare and special education costs continue to rise too. As funding drops and costs go up, the district's spending will have to follow suit. It's understandable that hard decisions will need to be made. But in this case, we agree with those who spoke out on Tuesday. When so many people come together in support of one individual, he is obviously doing many things right. The Troy School District should look elsewhere to save money. Mr. Regina's position should be saved.