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St. Lawrence Central administrators support student budget protest

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BRASHER FALLS — St. Lawrence Central School students’ peaceful demonstration against budget cuts has the support of the district’s administrators, who say it’s a way to get the message to Albany that the school district is in financial trouble.

“This is their way of exercising their democratic right. Administratively we support it,” district Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. said.

He said students had come to school administrators to advise them they were planning to protest budget cuts during the school day Tuesday and also during the budget hearing, which began at 6 p.m.

“They came to us and said, ‘We’re doing this, and we’re doing it off campus.’ We said, ‘If you do it, we’d like to have you do it here and be safe and provide supervision.’ I felt strongly that I’d rather keep them on campus and safe and provide some supervision. They were fine with that,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

“We’ve made it clear that we expect kids to be in class during their class time. We’re expecting that all the kids will attend all of their classes,” he said. “By the same token, we’re providing them an opportunity to organize and to protest and to share their feelings, and I think it’s just so inherent to our democratic process. We have some of our staff that will provide supervision out front and help answer any questions.”

The board’s proposed budget cuts or reduces 11 positions. The cuts concerned teachers, students, graduates and community members who filled the middle school/high school library during the last Board of Education meeting. They implored the board to look at other alternatives to the cuts, including the use of more fund balance.

“The impetus for this whole thing was from the students. We’ve worked with them, supplying them information,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “The kids are frustrated. We support the fact that they’re frustrated. They don’t understand why the legislators continue to put Brasher Falls in this situation.”

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