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Parents stressed as teacher exodus threatens Ithaca elementary school

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  • Staff Report 

A nationwide teacher shortage is affecting schools across the country, but the situation at Cayuga Heights Elementary School in the Ithaca School District has reached an alarming level. Parents have raised concerns about the unprecedented number of teachers leaving the school.

During the Utica City School District Board meeting on March 28, parents packed the room to voice their concerns about the situation at their children’s elementary school. A father named George was the first to speak, accusing the board of inaction in addressing the ongoing turmoil at Cayuga Heights Elementary School.

Ithaca Teachers Association Vice President Kathryn Cernera cited multiple factors contributing to the situation, including understaffing, inconsistent communication, and the increasing social, emotional, and academic needs of students without additional resources for teachers. She acknowledged that the association is collaborating with school leaders to find solutions.

After parents expressed their concerns at the March meeting, board members offered their responses. One board member emphasized their appreciation for families sharing their concerns and assured them that they are being heard. Another board member pushed back against the notion of a lack of dialogue and expressed optimism about finding a resolution that benefits the students.