Foothill spared worst effects of budget crisis so far

Dragon Press Editorial Board

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Students at Foothill may start to see larger class sizes and limited elective opportunities as a result of last year’s budget cuts. Due to donations and gifts to the school, Foothill is not seeing the many harmful effects of the crisis, but is definitely taking part of the hit.

“We will not be seeing any new textbooks for the next two years at least,” said Joe Bova, principal of Foothill.

In the mailer packet sent to parents during the summer, there was a flier asking for a $90 technology contribution. This donation helps the school upgrade student computers, teacher computers, and the media center to ensure we always have the newest and best equipment available. The ease of access to the internet and student networking websites makes it easier for teachers to interact with students as well as giving students an infinite encyclopedia. Foothill still has high goals to fullfull their technology plan for the next seven years.

Unfortunately, we are still seeing less than pleasant results from this recession. Classes have increased in size, with some math classes increasing from the low 20s to about 30 students, often leaving students without enough one-on-one time with teachers. If they cannot get help with a topic they don’t understand, they are likely to fall behind in their classes. Additionally, we have a decrease in the number of school days per year. Due to this, teachers must assign more homework to fulfill their curriculum to coincide with the California State Standards. The problem with this is that when children do work at home, they might not have anyone nearby to assist them if they need help.

Like many other areas of the school, the electives are in jeopardy.

“The school budget for an entire year of art class is $300 for 200-some odd students. That’s about enough for me to buy everyone a pencil — maybe — and we’d have to draw on the walls,” said Justin Frazier, Foothill art teacher.

Because of the minuscule budget, every art student is asked for a materials fee at the beginning of the year. The fee is waived for those who are in a bad economic position.

“The total cost of the class last year ended up being about $5,000. I think it’s important to expose students to a variety of quality materials,” said Frazier.

In addition to school issues, the district also realizes that the recession may impact students directly. There is a free and reduced lunch program for students who cannot afford school lunches. Also, the Foothill Student Store offers reduced fees for almost all purchases including yearbooks and activities including dances and prom. The hardship fund advisers evaluate students’ needs and give help accordingly.

The recession is definitely taking a toll on public schools. Foothill is fortunate enough to not be immensely affected, but is certainly having to cut back.

Bova stated that students can help out by simply “being green.” Conserving school paper, reducing printing, and making sure to turn computers off are just little ways that students can make the load a little lighter on the Foothill budget. If everyone does their part, this financial crisis will be nothing but a speed bump in the road.

What do you think?