I am a science teacher in the General Brown School District. We are projected to have a $1.7 million shortfall for the 2013-14 school year. Our school has no reserve fund balance to draw from, and so we are making some drastic cuts this year.
The cuts to our budget will be dramatic and will primarily come from school personnel, especially our teaching staff. More than teaching jobs, our students are losing opportunities. We will be losing elective courses designed to give our students a competitive edge for college admissions and entering the work force; we will be losing art and music programs at our elementary levels, which studies show are crucial to help many students learn and grow.
Our students will face an understaffed library, and as a result wont be as able to develop crucial research and literacy skills needed for success at college. Our class sizes are going to increase past truly teachable limits. In short, our situation is dire.
Ive heard the platitudes that everyone needs to tighten their belts and everyone needs to do more with less. The difference is that General Brown has cut 29 positions already in the past three years, on top of spending the second lowest per pupil in the state. We have been doing more with less; now we are at a critical tipping point. We will not be able to sustain our school district with this level of financial support. In short, while other districts are trimming the fat, General Brown is cutting to the bone.
Its easy to lose the impact in just the sterile numbers. Ive had quite a few students who are very concerned about the cuts to the programs that they were depending on to help prepare them for their college careers; one student was upset to the point of tears because she had been planning since 6th grade to take the courses that would help prepare her to go to college for a specific college degree program. I had another student tell me that he wouldnt be prepared to go to the college that offered the programs he wanted, so he now has to change his career plans.
Its time for our community to seek out a solution to help preserve our school. We need to educate ourselves and find a solution; our students are depending on us.