Our local school district had to meet last night in order to decide on cuts to make because of financial restrictions based on failed levies. They had to come up with $6.4 million in cuts.
The cuts include cutting staff positions. They include cutting JROTC. They are also raising fees to participate in sports and other extra-curricular programs. Fees for students wanting to participate in sports now will have to come up with $750 per sport. Other clubs, band, and cheer-leading will also have to pay fees.
There are a lot of issues at hand here. A lot of blame to go around. But the bottom line, and the most sad part of the whole story, is that the only group that has no blame in this situation is the group which is being punished the most. The children in the district.
The state needs to come up with a new way to fund schools. The Supreme Court of Ohio has ruled twice in the past that the way schools are funded is unconstitutional. Yet the state has made no changes to the way the schools are funded. And if the situation gets dire enough, they just come in and manage the schools themselves. So the group who can’t figure out how to fund the schools is supposed to be able to figure out how to manage them? Doubtful.
The school system itself has some fault as well. They have a lot of adminstrators who probably are not needed. The high school itself has 5 principals. Why do we need 5 principals in one school? Teachers play the role of floater at times. Not really assigned to a class. Just an extra body. Is that really needed? There seems to be, from what little I have heard, a lot of extras that could be cut to save money.
The community itself has it’s share of blame as well. No new funds have been approved for the schools since 2005. Thats 7+ years with no increase in funds. Costs increase over time. How many of us could go 7+ years without raises in our jobs and not suffer? Failing to pass the levies may have made a point at first. But it has gotten to the point of hurting the community. The point that the community it trying to prove is becoming costly. Property values are driven by educational system in the community. If parents are moving out the home values drop. Houses don’t sell because young couples with children don’t want to move into the district. Sure, maybe passing a levy may cost you a couple hundred dollars a year. Failing to pass the levy however may cost you a few thousand dollars in home values.
The bottom line is we need to think long and hard about what is important to our future. That being our children. They need a good, solid base to succeed. That starts with a good education. And that does not come free. It takes money to educate the children.