Saturday, March 05, 2011


From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Sacramento City Unified School District trustees approved their worst-case budget scenario for next school year at a board meeting Thursday evening.

Unless a tax extension, advocated by Gov. Jerry Brown, is placed on a June ballot and passed by voters, the school district will cut financial support for such things as sports, band, cheerleading, choir, drama and yearbook.

In addition, Sacramento City Unified will lay off the equivalent of about 355 full-time teachers, principals, counselors and librarians, further increase class sizes, make additional cuts to adult education and slash the salaries of all employees by 5 percent.

I don't know how much money extracurricular activities like sports and cheerleading cost a school district, but if you've got to cut, I can understand why even a modest savings in those areas would have to be considered.

What I don't understand is band class, choir, drama, and yearbook. Those are classes conducted during the academic day. Eliminate them, and the students will still have to be in class somewhere. What class will they be put in? Eliminate a drama teacher and you'll need another teacher in another class to take those students. Where is the savings?

Yes, class sizes will be increased, but I have to believe only by a little bit. Class sizes in my district are currently capped at 36--that's right, non-Californians, I said 36. How many more would they put in a class? Say it goes up to 40, an increase of 11%. We have enough teachers at my school that we could absorb such an increase if the classes above were eliminated. But that analysis is too simplistic. Students are already taking an English class, and since they're not going to take two English classes at once, the English teachers aren't going to accept any of the extra burden. Same with the math teachers. Same with the science teachers. Etc. So you can get rid of a math teacher if you increase math class sizes, and the same with an English teacher--but where do the former drama and choir and band and yearbook students go?

I'd really like someone to explain this to me.


PeggyU said...

Good point. Do they send them to study hall? Or home early?

Rose said...

Band, choir, drama and yearbook don't have STAR testing attached to them.

Darren said...

True, but that doesn't explain where they're going to put the kids.

Ellen K said...

Our previous administrator, now retired, decided to cut back on foreign language and electives classes and the teachers to teach them. He eliminated an entire swath of business courses and AP course. The result was that we ended up with kids placed in electives they did no want because there was simply no place to put them. One senior girl was told that she either had to take my painting class or ROTC. I also remember a time when drill team and cheerleadering was extracurricular. Right now in my state pay for play is the name of the game and it's growing. If you think about it, it makes no sense for students who aren't using these programs to have their options cut in order to provide for nonacademic offerings.