by Hannah Croft
As the Santa Rosa City school board rips at the seams of our budget, we students are left to wonder if they have taken to heart our feelings.
Making these cuts, I know, is not easy. With emotional and often inflammatory testimonials from students, parents, and community members, it is undoubtedly difficult to say what does and does not deserve to be slashed from the budget. $6 million is a lot of money. It has to come from somewhere. This is true.
However, as I’ve learned in my month in economics, there is money left unspent. The reserve funds, a percentage of the district’s annual income, are untouchable. However, even without the reserve funds, the district finishes each year in the black, with more money than they expected. We are tightening the budget at this point, because our school board isn’t much for estimation. Our projected spending exceeds the actual spending year after year, by thousands of dollars.
Steps can be taken to save money before we cut spring sports, leave Mesa students in the dust, or throw forty students in one English class. Ask teachers to unplug their refrigerators, microwaves, computers, and other appliances over the weekends. Turn off heating and air conditioning when no one is on campus. These steps seem simple, yet we’ve bypassed them, and jumped into these anvil-sized budget cuts.
The board has to cut somewhere, yes. But it’s hard to accept any of these cuts when I know better. I know there are other ways to save money. My family has had to adjust our budget as well. But we didn’t go off the deep end and cut clothing from our budget before taking smaller steps. In these tough times, it’s important to take baby steps in order to keep our district afloat. Yet, as evidenced by the drastic cuts that have been proposed by our board members, they would rather leap than waddle.