POTSDAM If a family moving to the area wanted to have Latin as a foreign language option for their children, there was still one school in St. Lawrence County they could attend.
However, following the resignation of the districts part-time Latin teacher, Latin is no longer being offered as an option at Potsdam High School.
Due to budgetary reasons and declining enrollment, the position was reduced to part-time for 2012-2013, according to Superintendent Patrick H. Brady, adding that decision led to the resignation of Lynette Maxson, who was hired by the district last year and taught Latin full time during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Who can blame her? She got a full-time job someplace else, Mr. Brady said.
Her resignation, which was accepted by the board on Tuesday, just one week prior to the start of the school year, left the district with a choice to make.
We had a very difficult decision to make on whether or not the district would maintain the program, he said, adding one week just wasnt enough time to find a replacement.
Mr. Brady said the district had a legal right to hold Ms. Maxson for 30 days, but there was no guarantee they would be able to find a teacher in that time frame either.
In light of the declining enrollment, difficulty of finding a certified person to teach Latin and school beginning next week, we did decide to cut the Latin program.
The task of finding a replacement would have been made even more difficult, he said given the fact that the position is only part time.
When we hired our last teacher, we received three applications and only one of them was certified to teach Latin in New York state, he said, noting that was for a full-time position.
Mr. Brady said the district had 40 students enrolled in Latin programs for this year.
The students who were enrolled in Latin I or Latin II have been sent a notification encouraging them to transfer into either French or Spanish, Mr. Brady said. The numbers were such that we could absorb the Latin I and Latin II students without having to create another class.
He added, Its early enough for them in their high school career, particularly when they would have already had a year of either French or Spanish in eighth grade, that it wouldnt be much of a challenge for them. Disappointed, yes, but a challenge, no.
As for the 11 students signed up for Latin III, Mr. Brady said that group was more of a concern.
Theyre more of a concern because theyre already had a couple years of Latin and they need an additional year to meet graduation requirements, he said. For those students, we are fortunate enough to have a program at SUNY Potsdam.
Mr. Brady said a letter explaining the decision was mailed to each of those students and their parents.
We have notified the parents and are working out the logistics of fulfilling their requirement by taking a course at the college level, he said.
Mr. Brady said the district will provide transportation to the college for the class as well as pay for the class itself.
Were working out a plan with SUNY Potsdam, he said. They have been very generous, and we greatly appreciate their collaboration with us, he said.
While the Latin program will not be returning to the district this year or next, Mr. Brady said hes hoping to see Latin one day return to the school.
Latin has been an excellent program and in some cases has been a draw to families who select Potsdam as their school district, he said. We do hope, in better financial times, that we can restore the program to our school district.