School cuts result in starvation mode educational system


Published:

To offer another angle on all the posturing and passion regarding the current debate about school funding, consider these results of the legislature’s three year “get fit” funding diet on the school I teach at, Eagle River High.

So far we have “trimmed away” two janitorial positions, a cafeteria worker, three clerical support positions, a special education assistant, the special education counsellor, the career resource advisor, and one PE teacher.

Yes, our trash is still being emptied and the phones are still answered, but operations are strained. Students with special needs are less supported. Seniors still graduate, but for career or continuing education help they have to wait in line for their regular counselors, who’ve also absorbed the special education segment.

The current budget as envisioned the legislative majority (Chugiak/Eagle River solidly in camp) looks to extend the “diet” into starvation, affecting the muscle and bone of your public schools. A fourth year of “hold the line” budgeting will lead to about a 10 percent teaching staff reduction at Eagle River High School, resulting in larger class sizes and less opportunity for all. With core areas protected, the arts, foreign languages, and other aspects of the “well-rounded” component of public education are next on the block. It is simple math to see that fewer teachers and courses for the same number of students will lead to more crowded classrooms; it is common sense to understand this degrades the educational experience.

Too often, silence is taken as assent. If you value an effective public education system, whether because you want your child to benefit directly from it or you recognize your own indirect benefit, tell our local legislators so. Let them know you are no fan of emaciated education and that you expect them to provide the funding for healthy schools.

 

— Clinton Holloway

Eagle River High School English/language arts teacher

Add your comment: