Every time there is a budget controversy with the State, education gets cut and shorted. It doesn’t matter that we already are near the bottom in spending per student. Historically we have always shortchanged education, and now we’ll do it again.
A young friend of mine is a teacher in our District, and she’s on the pink slip list. This person has gone to school for years to get her degree, she has taken sabbaticals to build up her bankroll, so she could afford the education. She still lives with her parents, because she has run up loan debts and she’s trying to pay them off. She worked as a sub waiting to get on with the District, and finally she got a position, now she could be out of work.
I really believe it’s time that we look at what’s important to education, and that’s committed, educators in the classroom. We can look at sports, music, and other events, and sure, they are important, but if we only have X number of dollars, the first point should be to keep teachers teaching the basic educational requirements
The Board has to cut costs, they don’t have any more money and the future doesn’t look good. We need to make systemic changes that’ll help put the schools on a solid footing looking in to the future. We always make short term decisions, even though we have long term problems. Elementary attendance is dropping in our District, the State has long term financial problems, and while they promise to repay the down years in the future, it probably won’t happen.
I have been a parent who has been active with my children in extracurricular activities and I understand how important these programs are to our children’s development. I’ve supported the programs and did fundraising and begging to raise money to keep these programs viable. I think we need all agree that in tough times we, as parents need to step up and take on the responsibilities for these programs. We need to take them off the District books, and support them. Football, swimming, theatre, band and other programs need to be funded by outside sources, and if that means cutting the programs back to a lower profile, then so be it. If, for some reason a student can’t find the resources to participate, then we need to scholarship them and help them to be part of the program. We need to find grants, and other outside money to support the programs.
Transportation, after school programs, and other extracurricular activities all need to find a way to pay for themselves. The basic thrust of my argument is that we need to strip down education to the basics and the classrooms need to be inviolate. When more money comes down the road, we can funnel more support to the programs, and they can ramp back up to their former glory.
When we cut these programs back and give them to booster groups or to outside agencies we’ll cut back on District staff and expenses to support the programs, and that’ll cut down the Administration, which is something everyone wants to see.
Let’s all be honest, we’ve wanted the government to spend more, provide more, and tax us less, and that’s put us where we are. It seems quite often government cuts the most visible to make us all pay for refusing to give them more money. Education is too important to mess with.