I just want to say, "for the record," as the saying goes, that I am extremely disappointed that the Board of Education has to make some of these proposed cuts to the school district budget. Some of the cuts do make good sense on their own and I believe will contribute to our operational and administrative efficiency. But other cuts will unfortunately affect our educational programs. We have no choice.
Will the art and/or music programs be "less" because they share a supervisor? Maybe. But I also know that we have great principals and amazing teachers of art and music and that talent and caring and enthusiasm won't disappear because we only have one supervisor.
We've looked at alternatives. We tried to work something out with our unions, but we were unsuccessful with two out of the three unions. So that meant we had to cut even more.
I've only been on the Board for 11 months. Let me tell you, this is not what I signed up to do -- laying off teachers or cutting programs. All of us on the Board want to build a strong school system, not take it apart. Unfortunately, outside forces require us to make choices. It really sucks...by their definition, choices require us to make value judgments, pitting one program against another. That's not empowering. That's not going to make us stronger. All we can do -- or the way I have to look at it for my own sanity -- is try and make every choice guided only by our overall mission of teaching and learning, not based on the inherent value of individual programs. Every program has its fans and students and parents. If we found somewhere else to make the cuts, then a different group of people would have made very similar arguments tonight. And I would have still felt like hell by the end of the meeting. And the district overall would be in the same place.
Instead, I have to admit that in the face of enormous odds, the proposed budget supports our overall educational mission as best we can, under the conditions we've got.
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