Budget Breakdown

The student body and faculty can all agree that this year has not been easy. You can see the stress of the budget situation reflected in teachers faces. Most everyone has had to make sacrifices, and do things they would not have done because of the budget craziness. The sad thing is the worst is yet to come.
 
“I know in photo class we had less film to work with and when the paper was gone, we were out of paper,” senior Megan Bracciano said. “Teachers started making us print our own worksheets [at home].
 
Teachers and students have had to be budget conscious, but with decisions from the school board to not close schools it is clear that the worst is yet to come.
 
Teachers won’t have it any easier than students in the coming years. The district has to cut 20 teachers to make up the budget deficit, and while some of these will be accounted for with retirements, non-tenured teachers (new teachers, or teachers new to the district) can easily be released and, therefore, have a lot to worry about.
 
Social Studies teacher Philip Mitchell is a member of this group.
 
“I’m still here,” Mitchell said. “I like it [at Free State], and I think they like me. It’s all just numbers.”
 
Teachers are not the only ones at risk. Other staff members, such as librarians Betty Kiline and Diane Toplikar will be directly affected by the cuts. One liberian will be moved to another school, but school board officials have not decided which librarian will move yet. 
 
“I think we are all aware of the budget situation,” Toplikar said. “I think this has been a very difficult year as that has loomed over the school.”  
 
“We really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Kline said.
Fewer teachers also means fewer classes and a higher student to teacher ratio. This also means the classes that don’t have enough students enrolled will not be offered next year.
 
“We are just going to have to figure out how to do our job the best we can,” Mitchell said. “I think we will notice a difference next year.”
 
Next year certainly won’t be easier by any means. It will take several years before the budget situation calms down. Tough choices were made by the school board and changes are going to be clear in the coming years because of these choices.
“Education has been around for a long time and people have done it with a lot less,” Mitchell said.