Misconceptions about District 51 budget color the process

By Greg Mikolai Being a school board member comes with responsibilities and challenges that are not obvious to the general community member or taxpayer. The District 51 Board of Education has…




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Really?  We are being sprayed with water and told it is raining outside!  I question the 4 day week only saving $800 Grand.  Somebody is not crunching the numbers if that is the figure presented to the BOE.  Bottom line, without that change, is the $1 to $1.5 million savings the district would gain by closing Scenic, and minus the raises, another $6 million that would have kept the District under the shortfall provided by state reductions.  The BOE had the chance to have the community share the cuts for not passing the bond issue by going to the 4 day week and not closing Scenic because they did not want to take the heat diplomatically or politically for the tough decision that affects everybody instead of a few.

Will there be less bus routes that go along with extending the distances and what are the savings in dollars?  I can tell you in athletics a raised athletic fee in a budget that affects less than ONE PERCENT of the entire budget is a drop in the bucket.  Besides, as we all know, schools have to develop funds to cover those fees for kids who cannot afford to pay or ask teachers and support staff or booster clubs or fundraise to pay the fee so kids are not denied the opportunity for participation.

Have some guts and cut some non-revenue sports, for which parents will find a way to pay for to get their kids the chance to play.  I see them spend thousands of dollars for youth soccer, out of state baseball camps, AAU basketball, and other “ELITE” teams just to go play.  And, it makes no sense to add sports.

My bet is the pay raise for some that cost some other people their jobs won’t do much to defer the morale of employees overall come September.  Particularly when the net income might amount to about a $30-$40 a month increase.

As far as the middle school cuts, I would not worry about those “gym teachers” as the paper put it, you know those non-professionals?  In a time, finally, when even the first lady at the White House and others have focused on obesity as a national issue, ignoring years of educators professing we have some serious issues ahead of us in this nation, it seems appropriate to take the hit in a “non-core” subject.  We all realize one less teacher in “gym class” only means it will be less of a “dumping ground” for over-sized “core” areas!

The solution is with the BOE!  It is time to hold politicians accountable, for having crafted a funding system that has left all school districts underfunded and this one over $25 million short.  Join forces with other school boards in mass and don’t rely on lobbyists!  Get the Constitution changed and trust professional educators to do their jobs.  They are damn good at it!

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