Hard choices ahead for school district

February 11, 2009 10:32 am

The list of proposed school budget cuts is out and the speculation is over. Now it’s time for even harder decisions – and continued public involvement.

On Monday, the members of a special budget sub-committee for the Brookings-Harbor School District finalized a list of possible cuts to deal with a projected budget shortfall of $790,000 for the 2009-10 school year (see story on Page 1A). The list prioritizes 16 items, each with an estimated costs savings. The school board will consider it at its Feb. 18 meeting.

We appreciate the committee’s hard work and the hard choices it made. We also appreciate the comments and suggestions put forth by teaching and non-teaching staff and the community members who attended the committee meetings.

Last but not least, we applaud Superintendent John Garner for creating the committee and his inclusive approach to finding workable solutions in difficult financial times.

Looking closely at the recommended cuts, we immediately see that most if not all of them fall far from the students themselves.

Yes, the students’ education is impacted by any and all cuts, but adult employees are taking the brunt of the proposed cuts while student programs such as athletics and elective classes (music and wood shop for example) are untouched.

Sadly, three teaching positions at the high school and a half-time position at the middle school are on the chopping block. So are one or two groundskeepers positions and three library assistant positions.

But remember, the list of cuts is not law. It is a well-researched recommendation with which the school board can make informed decisions about district employees and the future of our children’s education.

We are still involved, however: We have a right to voice our choice, and an obligation to support the choices made.