Once again, another school district punishes students for lack of funds

Apparently, another one of our Minnesota school districts, N St Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, finds itself with a budget shortfall and will be making program cuts to make up for it. I posted a few weeks ago about the Lakeville School District running into a similar problem, and it seems like the only solutions council members can come up with are cutting student activities and letting teachers go.

According to the Star Tribune, the district will be getting rid of all middle school athletics and extracurricular activities, but keep the yearbook and student council. Wow, how generous of them. They will also be eliminating 40 teacher positions, nursing staff, 5th grade band, guidance counselors, and music assistants, to name a few.

You can obviously tell that I am not too thrilled with these cuts, and here is why. The one position that is never eliminated in any of these budget cuts is the administrative jobs. Two administrators positions could cost the district upwards of $300,000 per year. Instead of taking this route, they are instead cutting everything that a student can participate in after hours, like sports and clubs, which cost about $324,000. Now, if you were to look at these two figures, which would you cut?

We wonder why our kids have no discipline nor direction and fail to see that music, art, and sports play a huge part in how our children are influenced. Extracurricular activities offer a break from the amount of school work piling up on them each year, from getting into trouble with the law, offer social interaction with their peers, and teach them a few things about life in between.

I loved art and music growing up. It gave me another way to use my mind. I was not the best artist, nor the best singer, but participation gave me something to look forward to everyday other than books. With two small children, I often wonder what school life will be like for them in another 10 years. Will athletics exist? How about the Science Club? Will they cut advanced courses too? Who knows…the only way to change the path we seem to be traveling down is to voice our opinions and tell officials to find another way. Oh, and I don’t mean by raising our property taxes!

What are your thoughts about school budget cuts and how they affect our kids?