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School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

As school districts are facing massive budget cuts across the country, school programs, teachers and students are taking the hit.

Across the country, 120 school districts had, as of October, moved to four-day school weeks while others are canceling field trips, shuttering after-school programs and charging students to play sports.

The cuts are seen in Keller, Texas, where the district opted for a pay-for-ride transportation system versus cutting busing as a whole; In Georgia, where 20 days were slashed from the pre-kindergarten academic year; In California, where nearly half the districts axed or whittled away at art, drama and music programs.

But these are all reports from school officials — from the top down. To get a sense of how these cuts are really changing things, Teen newspaper L.A. Youth went straight to the source — students. They asked readers about budget cuts at their schools, and received more than 1,850 teen responses.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

The survey asked students a series of 15 questions. Findings showed that nearly 60 percent of all students had to hand-copy information from an overhead because the school couldn’t afford paper to make copies. Half of all students also reported that their school didn’t have enough computers or functional computers, nor were their enough textbooks for each student.

School infrastructure showed to suffer the most in areas like restrooms, graffiti-covered walls, internal heating and cooling and classrooms and desks. Students also reported having to personally pay for sports uniforms more than other school items.

Most telling is the discrepancy between what students think schools should cut versus what school officials have on their to-ax lists. The top three items students said schools should cut are school newspaper or broadcast outlets, summer school and field trips — in that order. The last items on students’ “should-cut” lists, starting from the bottom, are teachers, administrators, “other,” guidance counselors and sports — all items that schools have shown to most commonly choose to cut first.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

And of the respondents, 97 percent said they are planning to attend college, and 64 percent plan to apply to an in-state four-year public institution. Although just 13 percent said budget cuts affected their ability to get the classes they need to graduate, cuts to just programs and teachers — leading to fewer opportunities and larger class sizes — have shown to affect students’ college readiness.

According to a report released last October by the Campaign for America’s Future, evidence suggests that cuts to education funding are leading to cutbacks from early childhood education programs, increases in class sizes and termination of art, music, physical education and other elective subjects. Special programs are also being cut as a result — including those that assist students with special needs as well as Advanced Placement courses, extracurricular activities and special academic programs for science, foreign language and technology.

943b6 SCHOOL SURVEY School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

Mifflin County, Pa. is no exception to the phenomenon, according to PBS NewsHour. Facing a 12 percent drop in state funding and declining enrollment, the school district has closed 40 percent of its schools, dismissed 11 percent of its staff, increased class sizes and decreased the number of courses offered.

The $4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools last summer led to a huge hit to unemployment as hundreds of educators were laid off. An estimated $5 billion cut from California’s education budget would start with a hit to school busing programs.

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Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/la-youth_n_1277182.html

Griswold parents, students oppose school budget cuts

More than 100 parents and students at a public hearing on Monday criticized proposed school budget cuts they said were too steep and made too early in the budget process.

Acting Superintendent John DiIorio’s proposed $25.49 million budget amounts to a 4.9 percent increase above last year’s budget, but still calls for eliminating seven teachers, as well as stipends for leaders of after-school elementary and middle school enrichment programs and a fall high school drama program.

In an alternate proposal that trims the budget to less than 1 percent, high school students would lose French and tennis. Middle school students would lose all foreign languages and could see class sizes of 30. Elementary school class sizes would rise higher than 25, and pre-school spots would drop.

With so many cuts, parents questioned how the town could continue to attract students from outlying towns.

The district shouldn’t look at cuts until forced to, Cara Roberts said.

“I don’t even want this budget at 4.92 (percent increase). I want to see 6 percent because the Board of Finance is going to cut it anyway,” she said. “The more we cut, the less and less our kids will have, year after year.”

Large classes would have hurt her daughter, Erica Pellish-Sundstrom said. Her daughter, a third-grader, met her benchmarks on state standardized tests for the first time this year.

“That’s because of her skilled teachers and interventions,” she said. “She would not be where she is in a class of 30.”

Griswold High senior Megan Maynard, in her fourth year of French, got emotional as she told the board it would be devastating to lose the language class. Those currently in French would be able to finish out the curriculum, but without a teacher, he told her.

“I’ve taken VHS classes. I don’t think it’s half as good as what French classes can do,” Maynard said through tears.

Seventh-grader Jordan Chenette earned the one laugh from the crowd when she suggested that computer classes be cut at the middle school level to preserve foreign language instruction.

“I’m a kid. I know how to use a computer. But I need two years of a language to go to college,” she said.

Her father, Duane, said it would be easier for residents to support the budget if they knew what it meant for their wallets. Last year, residents flat-funded the school board after voting down two budgets that would have given the school board an increase.

“I live week to week. If I know where my money’s going, how much will go to this, it will be a lot easier to vote yes,” he said.


 

Article source: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x392614459/Griswold-parents-students-oppose-school-budget-cuts

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    Welcome , today is Saturday, April 19, 2014