Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School Funding

I really enjoy staying home from work to be with my kids-- it gives me the opportunity to really find out how their day was and what made them happy or sad during the day at school. I am SUPER motivated to hear good things, and if there is a problem -- I do my best to help my kids use their problem solving skills. Recently, we had parent/teacher conferences.   Both of my kids are doing so WELL! I wanted to pinch myself or check that I was still walking on the ground.
Our school district is projecting a HUGE budget shortfall-- The school board is trying to find a "good" way to come up with $27-38 million dollars. Our superintendent put together a whole list of suggestions, currently the school board is collecting input from the parents and community. I went to one of the meetings last night, and it was really stunning , how the board just seemed to take this HUGE budget shortfall as a sign of the times. This is just a projected shortfall... and yet the board seems to be willing to make HUGE radical changes.
Some of the suggestions are closing some schools, restructuring schools-- making some if not all schools K-3,4-8 -- having fewer school/work days (furlough days)--increasing the student to teacher ratio ( high school would change to 6,grades 6-8 the ratio would change to 5, and in elementary school the ratio would change to 4-- changing the compensation and benefits packages that are already weak at best, using our rainy day funds..  Reducing "non=instructional and student support programs".
Mostly the conversation has been around the topic of closing schools and the reconfigurations--.
Our school is not one of the schools that is mentioned, but I know that our school WILL be affected.
I love the teachers and staff at our school, we are already making due with the resources we have, our school is made up of a population that it  80% of our families are at or below the poverty rate.  This year our PTO made more money than it has in previous years-- and because a few key grants disappeared-- we have used all that money to help support our school.

I have my kids in public school because, I do not have the skills to home school, nor the money for private school-- I do have my kids at our neighborhood school-- I help when I can -- and yet... This HUGE budget shortfall is changing our future.
I am frustrated and upset -- that these amounts are so HUGE, I am annoyed that more parents are not motivated to put their two cents in and give their opinion. I am upset that the board seems to be looking to change our schools instead of -- finding a solution,elsewhere-- or from a donor/s or the STATE. 
It's like the board has given up and is just trying to figure out how best to -- let the community know that hey... we are really in the hole financially and -- oh-- by the way-- your current school system isn't cheap enough.

It shouldn't be this hard to get a GOOD public education,
 it shouldn't be something that parents have to always worry about -- 

Our teachers do their best to teach our kids what they can-- they often use their own money to purchase things for the classroom-- They are asked to teach the circulum and also motivate the kids to score high on our OAKS testing.They have less days to teach, very little prep time and yet.. we  keep asking them to do more with less.
Miracles happen-- but something is WRONG when we as a community
are consistently expecting miracles each and every day  just to create smart,well adjusted students.?
It is so easy to complain and do nothing, It is so easy to say -- well, my voice is just one.
Often we use rewards to teach our students, good behavior-
- why are we not rewarding schools that are doing well...


Anonymous said...

that is a huge shortfall! wow! did they see that coming?
it's so incredibly hard these days all around. We're sticking with the public schools as long as we can, but you never know.

ape2016 said...

Unfortunately one of the areas that suffers first when budget cuts are made is education. I worry how much worse things will get if tax cuts for the rich go through...

I homeschool one child, and plan to homeschool the other 2 next year, so I won't need to worry about this, but I feel for people that have to rely on public education. Never mind the fact that there are some kids that come from such messed up home lives, education and a stable school are the only things they have going for them.

Anonymous said...

The budgeting process is just sooo impersonal! Like the money and numbers have no effect on real people. I prefer those discussions happen at the local level - rather than national - where the personal is near impossible.

You are such a good Mom to do what you do! Barbara