Budget cuts force electives to cut corners

Gracie Warda, Online Editor

Schools across the country are facing an age-old issue: Budget cuts. Block scheduling has already been eliminated due to cost. However, financial issues still shadow educational institutions and electives are the first to take the cut.

“To run a good program would cost a lot of money,” art teacher Kristen McDowell said. “Money has been reduced year after year after year, we were not even given a budget yet this year, and it seems like they have some things to work out. I have already spent close to $400 out of my own pocket to pay for glue and scissors and paper, just to get the year started. We haven’t even gotten to buy materials for classes like advanced art.”

In an attempt to save the programs, electives have received less money for materials.

“It makes it really difficult,” McDowell said. “Especially for higher level art classes. I think we’re only at about $10 per kid for the year, and if you took that $10 and tried to go to Micheals and buy supplies you wouldn’t get very far. We used to have stretch canvases and higher quality materials, but we had to cut back and water down the supplies we invest in. We have to use everything we have to get by- it’s a struggle. When I started 19 years ago we had a budget of around $10,000, and now we have three or four, and we’ve doubled the size of our program. So we have more kids, prices have gone up for materials and our budget is extremely decreased.”

Aside from art classes, Music, Publications and Drama classes all have high costs.

“All we really pay for [with the money that we get] are SD cards and paper, typically, becuase $200 won’t begin to cover the expenses we have.” Publications Adviser Pam Bunka said. “It can’t really cover paying for cameras and camera equipment and camera repairs or the software that we had to buy which was $7000. Pretty much everything the Newspaper and Yearbook and Photography staffs use comes from fundraising that the staffs participate in. Even my desktop classes use the equipment purchased by the students on the publications staffs.”

Fundraisers cover many costs that these electives require, but teachers wonder if it’s a student responsibility.

“I think it’s unfair in many instances that the students have to fundraise for equipment materials that I equate to books for another classroom.” Bunka said. “We don’t have books for our classroom, so our training materials are in the supplies that we use. I think it’s an unnecessary financial burden that we have to put on them. Both staffs raise enough money to publish their own publications, which I don’t have a problem with, I think it’s good and it’s part of the curriculum that students go out and sell ads, but I don’t think they should have to pay for the supplies that we use to create those publications.”

As money becomes tighter in the district, electives are becoming more and more threatened.