In light of the $6 million deficit faced by our school district, the $520,000 saved by the high school reorganization plan developed by the Superintendent of Schools with the help of the High School Leadership Team, and the lack of any suggestion as to an alternate which would save a comparable (or any) amount of money, I find completely irresponsible the suggestion by some members of the community that we should continue to lobby the school board to reverse its decision on a six period day at the high school.
Are they forgetting that $2 million more must be cut before the budget is balanced and that the fate of many programs (library, Reading Recovery, middle school administration) and one school (City of Franklin) are still in the balance? Don’t they realize or care that retaining a seventh period at the high school will make it harder to save librarians and Reading Recovery? Or is it just the same old attitude that got us into this mess: I want what I want and the board can always find a way to pay for the rest?
My daughter will be a BHS freshman next year. I don’ want to see drastic reductions in electives. But after listening to the board discussions and consulting with parents who have been involved with the high school and citizen oversight for years, I personally am ready to accept it as an unfortunate necessity at this time.
Miraculously, the plan comes with an important benefit to counterbalance the loss. Every parent I’e talked to thinks the increase from 45 to 55 minutes of instructional time in each period will be a huge plus for the program. I believe the Board should proceed with deliberate speed to finish the budget and let the community see what the reduced program will look like at all levels.
Only then can we make a judgment that takes into account all students. Let’ not give in to tunnel vision and hysteria. Do we really believe that cutting back to six periods will “ruin Berkeley High for generations to come” as has been stated by those organizing this protests. I fear this kind of emotionalism will only end up undermining our high school further if the community learns in the end that the district simply can’t pay for the old elective program at this time.