Schools across the Southland have had to trim millions of dollars from their budgets, increasing class size, and cutting nursing, library and bus services. In some districts, funds also were cut for after-school activities such as band, pep squads, debate and sports teams, choral music, and the school newspaper and yearbook. When school districts are forced to trim, should they try to save extracurricular activities?
Kathy Klein, M ontebello Teachers Assn. president I don't see any way of justifying cutting programs within school hours for programs outside of school hours. The community is much more willing to fund extracurricular activities, and in times of difficulty we have to call upon them to help. It's easier to find somebody who wants to put money into the football team than somebody who wants to put money into seventh-grade education. We have to fund the well-rounded base program first and then look for alternatives to fund the rest. You have to preserve the part that is in the school day first. If you can't afford to put out a school newspaper, then you just don't do that, but you can still teach journalism. You can still teach athletics. There's nothing that we've done in the Montebello School District that's wasted or extra or fluff. But we've gotten kind of spoiled. We're accustomed to the district paying for everything.
Supt. Lee Eastwood, W\o7 hittier Union High School District \f7 If you've gotta spend a buck, you spend a buck on the core curriculum. Schools are in the knowledge business and that's got to be their focus: What funding is needed to result in the proper class load and teacher-pupil ratio? We've had to face those kinds of decisions in the last few years. You need to carry out those basic functions, and my priority would be the classroom. But it's a value thing that each school district goes through. In our district, we did not cut any of the base programs for the kids, athletically or academically. We cut administrators. We cut nurses. We cut ground crews. We cut back in certain supply areas and equipment, but not that much at the school level. We trimmed around the edges. But I wouldn't be as arrogant to say what I would do in another environment. Each district has its own values.
Ellen Shin, \o7 Schurr High School student body president \f7 The benefits reaped from extracurricular activities honestly affect a lot more people on the whole than the jobs that were affected by the district cuts. It really pains me to say that. I'm upset that the Board of Education had to cut these jobs in the first place. But if a student just goes to school and studies, then there's no type of recreational outlet. It would produce a very narrow-minded student with only one perspective of how life is. Without extracurricular activities at school, there's no school spirit. There's no morale. They should be able to feel like a part of something, be a part of a team or look at the yearbook and say 'I was a part of that.' What's a high school without a football team? What's a high school without a yearbook? These are supposed to be our high school years, and they wanted to take all our memories away.
Marilyn Larson, \o7 Long Beach Unified School District library spokeswoman \f7 I do not like to see instructional opportunities cut. I know those students in band and newspaper need a great deal. But the resources in the library are very important as well. Students who use the library might not be the ones who have a booster club to raise the issue for them. It's easy to rally around something that is more visible. The band is something that is certainly more visible than a student working on a term paper in the library and asking a librarian for assistance. This is not something that makes headlines, but it's very vital. It's the infrastructure that keeps the whole process of education supported. I wish people could see more of what's coming out of there. A library tends to be the first on the list to be cut. I don't think there's a librarian in the world who does not have those fears of losing a job just because of the economic situation in our state and in our nation.