Staff Editorial: keep budget cuts away from classroom


Photo by Paige Sanders

Identified list of budget cuts for 2019-2020 will effect many in the district after $2.5 million will be cut.

Due to a $2.5 million deficit for the 2019-20 school year, board members are working to reduce expenses.  Thousands of people will be impacted in the district next year as tough decisions will be made to cut the budget. Board members should aim to make cuts that have the least impact on student learning.

Programs, activities and services may be reduced or cut to balance the budget. Also, class sizes may increase as well. Possible clubs and electives programs students are interested in may be cut. It is difficult when budget cuts effect the classrooms where learning happens. Cuts should try to stay as far away from the classroom as possible.

It is so important that we consider the whole person when making cuts. Traditional academics are crucial, but the electives round out the individual and are important too.”

— Carey Nisi

“The consistent theme in school district budget cuts is to ‘keep the cuts away from the classroom’ as much as possible,”  Board Director George Hoeppner said.

On Dec. 16, the board had identified cuts totaling $1.523 million that had a direct impact on the high school. These cuts included eliminating YCAPP, increasing athletic and activity participation fees to cover additional cost of programming and reducing staff.

With these cuts effecting the high school, staff reduction would cause increasing class sizes, which could lead to students to feeling stressed and distracted. These cuts concerned students because class sizes are already high and more increases are not academically good for students.

However, on Dec. 23, the school board approved $1.081 million that will be cut and removed some cuts on the $1.523 identified list such as YCAPP and the class size increases. The latest list of identified reductions including eliminating professional and curriculum development, administrative positions, facility maintenance and facility rentals.

In upcoming January meetings, board members have to make difficult decisions about cuts up to $2.9 million. It is disappointing that these reductions being made and may have negative effects on students and families. Some express concern that the closing of three elementary schools was supposed to stop the budget problem. Yet, there are still cuts happening around the district.

Another financial concern is the approval to expand Brookview Elementary, located in Woodbury. The school was built in the southern part of the district to accommodate students from Lake Elmo and Valley Crossing Elementary. There is a wait list to get in and an expansion is taking place to help with the overflowing classroom.  Many people wonder why our district is facing a deficit when we are spending all this money on expanding a newly built school.

Budget cuts not only effect students and their families, but teachers too.  The reason class sizes increase is because teachers get released. Teachers should not be treated like they are money and be gambled around like a game of poker. Teachers are human beings and make education in our district possible. Therefore, they should not be a thought regarding budget cutting.

“Whenever budget cuts come around, I get nervous,” art teacher Carey Nisi said.

When cutting activities and programs, the things that may be considered for reduction are most likely the ones that are not popular or improving. Having a large high school, there are so many opportunities to join a wide variety of clubs, sports, activities and electives which are important should stay. With just below 3,000 students at the high school, we are all unique with different interests and talents. With this, it becomes crucial we each have opportunities to can express our uniqueness and not have a fear of our interests being cut.

“It is so important that we consider the whole person when making cuts. Tradition academics are crucial, but the electives round out the individual,” Nisi said.

Limiting budget cuts from effecting students and their everyday lives would cause less stress and a maintain a more effective learning space for all. Keeping all activities and programs in schools from being cut will help students express their unique selves and will keep the district strong.