Tomorrow will be tough at school. Layoff notices are being given early in light of a "balanced budget" proposal that is due this week. The middle schools are expected to take the biggest hit this time, losing all Foreign Language, some English staff, and most likely my colleague's 60% Art position (which was reduced from full time last year.) To think of going back to the art program offered 24 years ago when I first started at Parker, with one art teacher for 600 kids, makes me want to cry. We have an override vote planned for the spring, but people are not optimistic and the cuts are being seen as truth at this point. I never thought it would ever be this dire in Reading.
People need to wake up and realize that if the schools do not offer competitive courses and rich programming, the property values will fall. Period. People move to Reading because of the schools. To not support them is foolish. I am hard pressed to afford any tax increase myself but know that it is essential for the value of my home, and really non-negotiable. We have not had a Prop 21/2 override in many, many years. Facts are facts. Be mad at the powers that be all you want -- the fact is that the schools need the funds to stay functional and appropriately educate children.
I've seen rumblings online about how Foreign Language and the Arts are "extras." Well, those "extras" are providing students with career training and opportunities for personal growth that go far beyond other areas, in more meaningful ways. We worry about the mental health of our students and then limit opportunities for learning strategies for successful living and learning. C'mon, town, step up. I hope the public learns of projected cuts tomorrow and realizes that it is a question of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, here.
Off for a day making up for all that didn't get done over the last three days of illness and snow. Including some much needed beading time -- getting close to the finish! Cheers.