Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SK School System and $$ Woes...

Where does one even begin to rant about $$ woes in this particular economic climate? Every person I know is feeling the belt tightening right now. I thank my father and his practicality that he instilled in me over the years, that I've been able to run my family's finances in such a way that we simply have to "watch" what we spend on...rather than really "cut" what we spend on. If only our towns, cities, states and country could say the same.

But alas...that is not the world we currently live what to do...what to do??

I can say that I know what NOT to do. Our community's education CANNOT be used as the sacrificial lamb for our community's financial disarray. To do so would be shameful, embarassing and more importantly, counter-productive.

The Schools have ALREADY sacrificed enough. As it stands, for the 2009-2010 Budget...the Elementary and High Schools made many cuts...of which the schools eliminated 25 positions and once again re-organized our Middle Schools. Also over the years...programs such as Gifted or Accelerated Education have been lost.

With a proposed Referendum...Councilman Jim O'Neill is looking for a reduction of another $1.3 million dollars on top of what has already been cut. According to O'Neill's proposal: "much of the $1.3 million could come from a pay freeze for teachers and higher health care co-pays"...however...this could only come about if the Teachers' Contract is re-opened and re-negotiated...which to be 100% frank here...WILL NOT HAPPEN.

So what WILL HAPPEN?? This is what WILL HAPPEN:

~ Middle School Ahtletic programs WILL be cut
~ Education programs such as CARES, FCE & SMILE WILL be cut
~ at least 2 teacher aides WILL be cut
~ Elementary Band and Strings WILL be cut
~ Middle School Guidance WILL be cut
~ High School Language, Art and Technology Ed classes WILL be cut
~ Support for our students, such as Psychologists, OTs & PTs WILL be cut
~ there WILL be reduction in Elementary Art, Library & Music

This is OUTRAGEOUS. Having a child in preschool, a child in elementary school and a child @ the high school...I have to scream: ENOUGH!! These kids cannot take anymore.

I have to ask our Community: WHERE ARE YOU??

Where is our Local pride? I know many people who graduated from SK have moved to other areas....but I also know that MANY MANY MANY have not. And add to those who've stuck around...I know MANY alumni who have returned to SK...because "it's a great place to raise a family" and they want their kids to go through the SK school system. But now that we are back here...WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

This referendum won't just affect students in the upcoming school year. The aftershocks of this earthquake will be felt for decades to come. Families who have children not yet school age may think this won't effect them...but they're wrong. The ramifications of this proposal will be permanent, and will be hard pressed to overcome in years to come. Families who have children already out of SK school system may think this doesn't effect them either. Again...they're wrong. The legacy that will be left will be nothing but shameful. And taxpayers who do not have children in the school system may argue that this will not effect them. THEY ARE WRONG. Look at other communities where education is not valued. Look at other communities where school systems are not properly funded. What do those communities look like? Is THAT what you want for YOUR community?

Here is a well written explanation of what is being proposed and what will ultimately happen if Parents, Teacher and Taxpayers sit idly by:

And here is a PowerPoint Presentation as well:

If this referendum goes through, what is left of South Kingstown's once exemplary education system will be thoroughly decimated! And ultimately many parents will be forced to find other options for their children's education...because quite frankly...SK will no longer cut the mustard :(

"VOTE 1 ON JUNE 9th"
Broad Rock Middle School from 8am til 8pm!!