Dee Klem, a parent of two in the Kent School District who runs the district’s elementary Communities in Schools’ program, wrote this blog post for our edCored series on education funding. If you want to be notified when new content is published in this month-long series, please subscribe to the LEV Blog’s RSS feed or once-a-day email digest.
The cuts that have hit education over the past few years have made a bad situation worse at my kids’ home school. This school is a Title I school with a free and reduced rate that was 78 percent two years ago and now is in the high 80’s. We have lost our counselor and half the time of our EA (VP equivalent). These two cuts alone have had tremendous impact on discipline, as one works at the root problems and the other is the disciplinarian in the building. But now on the two to three days a week she is not in the building – who is in charge? The principal? Well, she is often called out of the building by district admin – so then who? The office staff? I have seen many more split classes as a result of the pressure to pack the classes to their absolute max – when do we consider the best interest of the students?
The office staff is another place the cuts are obvious. They cover crossing guard, recess AND the office. This leaves much time in the day with only one person at their desk trying to accomplish their duties but covering so many others. I am not sure how (or even if) they get it all done. Things are cut so far back our principal or EA spends over an hour a day monitoring lunch. Really? Is this how we want these high-paid administrators to spend their day handing out food??
My daughter was fortunate enough to join orchestra as a 5th grader. That option has been cut – students can not start playing an instrument now until 6th grade. Many less are choosing this option for that one year. I do not see this opportunity as an “extra;” many, many studies have been done that illustrate the direct correlation between music and math, not to mention the benefits of arts in education. There has never been a formal art program at our school in the nine years I have had a student there.
Support services at every level in the building have been decimated at a time when they are needed more than ever. These are hard choices that building administrators have been forced to make. Some make better choices than others, but the bottom line is that all are making hurtful cuts as a result of simply not having enough funding.
Things at my school are not getting better; they are getting worse.