Kathy Mazur (left) In the Hot Seat
While they may not have carried pitchforks and torches, sixteen concerned parents showed up to voice their strong concerns this morning at a coffee hour with rookie Amherst School Committee member Amilcar Shabazz, who is also the parent of a Crocker Farm second grader.
But the session became more of a give-and-take with Superintendent Maria Geryk's right hand person, Director of Human Resources Kathy Mazur, who found herself defending the budget decisions of the MIA Superintendent.
One major complaint was the decision to promote former Crocker Farm Principal Mike Morris to Director of Teacher Evaluations and moving him to "Central Office," not that anyone was complaining about the job currently being done by co-Principals Deryk Shea and Anne Marie Foley.
Co-Principal Derek Shea at Crocker Farm concert
To which Mr. Shabazz responded, "Crocker Farm took a hit and that has not been acknowledged by the Superintendent (Maria Geryk)"
Amherst School Committee member Amilcar Shabazz also UMass Du Bois Professor of Afro-American Studies
The move to Central Office by Morris also sank the idea of turning Crocker Farm into an "innovation school."
EJ Mills questions an $80,000 Grant Writer
Amherst has a reputation for being top heavy with administrators so it was only natural the new budget proposal, which calls for two additional administrators in Central Office but cuts teachers and para professionals, would be controversial.
At $17, 916 Amherst has one of the highest costs per student in the state (compared to neighboring Hadley at $9,770) and an "administration" cost per pupil 65% higher than state average.
Amherst Schools by the (state) numbers