From Nov. 30 print edition
Because of Proposition 30’s passing, the tightly cinched belt around our school board’s budget has loosened a bit. Proposition 30’s passing means BHUSD will not have to face the anticipated $6.2 million loss in budget cuts. However, the district must still cut spending by $3.5 million, so the belt is not completely taken off the board’s waist just yet.
The state assemblymen working in Sacramento need to find other parts of the budget to cut; citizens should not have to sacrifice one of the most important pieces of advancing the future of our state: our education. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once remarked that a “genius without education is like silver in the mine.”
Americans complain that our nation doesn’t strive to have the best education. According to PBS, as of August 2012, America is ranked seventh with a 77 percent in high school graduation rates out of ten countries in the world. As students, it is discouraging to realize that our nation’s education is in a poor financial situation.
On the bright side, the budget cut does provide the district with an opportunity to reassess its allocation of spending. With BHEF’s kind support and effort to make the best of what is left in our education, we should be able to restore most of the first group of categorized cuts on the potential budget reductions list. Some of the cuts from this group are the elimination of K-8 school librarians, high school TOSA positions and 13 other cuts.
Although the district anticipates to redeem most, if not all, of the first group of cuts through fundraising and donations, there are concerns with the second group of cuts that the district listed. Some of these items, such as the reduction of hours of special education employees, should be reevaluated. According to statistics from Autism Society, autism and special learning disabilities are the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the nation, reaching a 1,148 percent growth rate in the last few years. Only 56 percent of these students complete high school. Based on these figures, the cut reducing special education employees’ hours, seated at the bottom of the entire list, worries us about the future of education for the fastest growing population in the district.
There is also the possibility of eliminating high school credit-recovery summer school. This means that students may have to pay to attend summer school in order to earn back their credits. These cuts are not guaranteed yet, so in the case that financial flexibility is possible, accommodations can be made to save pieces of our education.
We are grateful for the help we can get from our community and we hope to never have to confront these circumstances again. But in the case that we do, which realistically will happen again at some point, we want our district to be better equipped with solving these conflicts so that the education of future members of society isn’t compromised and the district does not have to seek donations.