Sports vs. Fine Arts vs. Academics – Losing Battle for Kids

When I listened to the Board discussion on Monday, one Board member said that if you don’t get it and vote for the referendum, Varsity sports will be on the chopping block to go next year. I cringed. I’ve been a fine arts education advocate, but I also lettered in three varsity sports in high school and know/experienced the importance of athletics. We need to vote yes in the referendum, but we also need to change the way we do our education business during the year.

I think we have to engage teachers, parents and the community year-round in a dialogue about what we our priorities in our school district for children’s learning. We can’t wait for tense discussions in the budget to do curriculum changes and threats of future cuts – we’ve got to be working all year long.
I’m voting for the referendum – we’ve lost too much for our kids already. My daughter’s textbooks are dated, novels barely hold together, supplies are scarce, fewer teachers are at the middle school, at all schools, fewer subjects are being taught, etc.
But,our work cannot stop with a passing referendum. The School Board needs to identify keys academic,sport, technology etc., issues that need to be addressed and get the community engaged and collaboratively working together on what our community’s priorities are for our children’s education ASAP.
I’m the Treasurer of my school’s PTO. We have not heard from the School Board nor has anyone on the School Board come to our PTO and met with our parents to ask us: a) what are your priorities for your children’s education, b) what are your concerns, and c) what do we need to be doing now?
I’d like to have those discussions beginning in June, but for four years I’ve watched as the noise in the spring budget process builds to a crescendo, then fades in June and does not come up until next spring. I’ve worked on education/school election issues throughout the year. I’ve also been forced into “playing the advocacy game” for fine arts education, but I don’t like it and I would like our Board leadership to begin a different process – starting ASAP.