Pittsfield school building needs commission votes to keep auto body and metal fab courses in Taconic
The Pittsfield school building needs committee votes to keep two vocational courses that were planned to be cut. As YNN's Madeleine Rivera tells us, there is still debate about how to pay for them.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The decision to keep two vocational courses at Taconic High School came after weeks of public meetings where many voiced some strong opinions.
"There's a lot of industry here that's unique to Berkshire County," said John Pariseau, owner of Pariseau Heating and Cooling.
"According to the community and the advisory board, they say there is a market," said Frank Cote, Pittsfield's Assistant Superintendent of Career Technical Education.
A market for auto body and metal fab. These two courses were on the chopping block as the city's school building needs committee discussed how to restructure the school's vocational program.
"It's eight years now," said Interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy.
That's how long it has taken the city to get to this point, to rebuild and renovate Taconic. Before offering financial support, the state recommended that the city revamp the school's vocational programs. A school development study showed that regional employment in auto body and metal fab industries was decreasing. But some residents pushed back.
"There's work here. And there's always work for a good well-trained vocational student," said Pariseau.
Residents who support the auto body and metal fab courses said they believe the committee made the right decision to keep these courses. But the issue is far from over. There are some concerns, specifically with how to fund 15 programs.
"It's gambling. It's like a roll of the dice. There's not much you can do at the end of the day if that's what's going to happen. You make the best and you hope the students are going to go through these programs and there's going to be opportunities for them," said Cote.
The 15 vocational programs chosen will likely be submitted to the state for review in March.