Next year’s public education budget cuts have been a main concern during school board meetings in the Re-5J school district this past academic year. The rescissions are getting deeper and it seems that the state of Colorado is making its cuts in the wrong place.
On Feb. 15, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his Colorado budget proposal. Hickenlooper said it was tough to cut K-12 funding, especially with his son attending public schools.
The amount of budget cuts within the Re-5J school district is projected to be $1.1 million next year. This will affect the 2,739 students who are currently enrolled in the Re-5J schools. These cuts will affect the children by not having as many teacher resources within the K-12 schools.
Superintendent Martin Foster, of the Re-5J school district, said the district is trying to reduce employees and programs through attrition. The district will not have media specialists in the libraries next year, will move several teachers back to the classroom from the libraries and have fewer classroom aides next year.
Other anticipated deductions within the schools include, extracurricular programs may be cut and more teachers may be at risk of losing their jobs. This would eventually lead to larger classrooms that alienate the individual attention that children need in order to be successful.
According to Foster, the current student to teacher ratio is 22:1 within the Re-5J school district. This may change if current layoff proposals are fully enforced or increased at the beginning of the next academic year.
In a time when money is spent feverishly by our government and the current mindset of our president is to raise the ceiling of the national debt, this leads me to question our priorities as a country.
Government leaders seem to be raising debt faster than we can print the money to pay it back, so why does education have to suffer the initial consequences of that debt? Why don’t we cut funding where this debt stems from? Why not cut a politicians salary to $30,000 a year so they know what middleclass debt feels like in this country. According to The Sunshine Review in 2010, Colorado elected officials made an average of $75,000 a year. Why not invest some of that money into the educational needs of our children and give public education a chance to thrive when we need it the most?
Education and dreams are what laid the foundation for the United States. Not debt and trade to please the economies of countries overseas. If budget cuts to education continue at alarming numbers, then there will be no public education left in America.
If public education vanishes, then our children will be forced to be educated by means of the internet. Then our children will miss the opportunity to gain crucial social skills by getting their education from a Web site rather than a public hands-on classroom. It is important to keep a healthy learning environment for our children and putting money toward education will always be the best investment people make, whether it is private or government funded. Education is a key resource to the future of our children and our beloved country.
Aaron Dutton is a senior journalism major and an art and design minor at the University of Northern Colorado.