Local News

January 28, 2009

Teacher Resource Center threatened

North Country education resource left out of budget

PLATTSBURGH — For more than 24 years, the North Country Teacher Resource Center has offered vital services to area educators, school districts and an array of educational organizations.

But Gov. David Paterson did not include funds for teacher centers in his executive-budget proposal, and without that money, the center will have to close.

"This would have a significant impact on the area," said Kathleen Fessette, assistant director of the North Country Teacher Resource Center. "This is the one entity that pulls everyone together."

Representatives of the center, as well as area educators and student teachers, have started a letter-writing campaign and are relying on word-of-mouth to keep the center open. But with the economy in shambles, the outlook could be grim.

"This is a very difficult time for our economy," Fessette said.

The New York State Legislature created teacher centers in 1984 to help educators effectively infuse new technology, though since then the concept has evolved to support the needs of a host of educational institutions. Teacher centers are governed by Policy Boards composed of teachers, administrators and representatives of post-secondary education, business, cultural and community organizations.

There are more than 130 centers statewide that are linked by seven regional networks, enabling school districts and educators to share resources and plan collaboratively.

The North Country Teacher Resource Center serves 17 public-school districts, private educational institutions, Plattsburgh State and Clinton and North Country community colleges. The center, which is housed at Plattsburgh State, also partners with organizations such as the Transportation Museum, Battle of Plattsburgh, Adirondack Weight Management, Mission of Hope, North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, League of Women Voters and North Country correctional facilities.

"Those partnerships would be lost," Fessette said. "We also serve about 1,800 educators."

The Center is grant funded through the New York State Education Department.

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