Budget cuts to affect students

With the cuts the district made this year, and the amount of money they will need to cut next year, any number of important programs.

Maria Davison
Maria Davison

I still have two-and-a-half years of high school left. And the way things are going, it’s very possible that, at the end of that time period, Northwest won’t be nearly as great of a place to go to school as it is now.

Almost $11 million were cut from the SMSD budget for this year. The cuts for next year haven’t been announced yet, but, according to the budget and finance director for the district, Tim Rooney, district officials expect to slice another $10 million or so from next year’s budget to meet the state’s budget deficit.

With the cuts that were made this year, programs like “teachers on assignment” and “New Beginnings” were lost. But, in reality, who knows what those programs actually did?

The district did that on purpose. They cut the things that they knew would have little to no affect on the majority of students. And they did a pretty good job. A lot of money was cut from the budget, and I barely noticed it.

But when the district has to cut another $10 million or more for next year, what will be cut? The most expensive programs are things like honors, AP or IB classes with 10 or fewer students and the gymnastics team. They already eliminated everything that students don’t care about, so what’s next? According to Rooney, everything is on the chopping block.

It seems like arts are one of the first things to be considered when the district is talking about making budget cuts. Northwest is a great place to go to school partially because of the great art and music programs. With every program being considered for cuts, the art programs may well take a punch in the gut.

If I didn’t have newspaper, orchestra, and cross country, I would never want to go to school. I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to during the day. Just going from English to math to science to Spanish and then home would make the high school experience so much less enriching.

And even more to the point, newspaper and orchestra are the two classes I learn the most in. I don’t spend that time taking notes about how to find the determinant of a matrix or how many moles of sodium chloride are in 2.65 grams. I learn how to work with people and how to manage time, and, most importantly, those are the places I learn what the real world is going to be like.

Students who are involved in extracurricular activities are also more likely to graduate from high school, become leaders, voice opinions and complete tasks, according to the Montana State University Extension Service.

Extracurricular activities are what makes Northwest, and the whole Shawnee Mission School District, a great place to go to school. If all of our programs eventually get cut because the people in Topeka refuse to raise taxes or just can’t come to an agreement about what’s best for the future of public education, the future is going to be rather bleak.