School Budget at U-32

This article was written by Dillon Cox, a senior in the journalism class here at U-32. 

 

Recently voters rejected the school budget for U-32 Middle and High School. The budget would have meant an increase in property taxes nearing 20% in some towns in the district. With the failure to pass, schools around the state are making cuts in schools to achieve a lower tax rate for citizens. 

 

Mascot of U-32 by the gym (Dillon Cox/Chronicle)

 

Several positions in U-32 were cut (see page 5). Newer academic positions are being terminated, and teachers with the least amount of time teaching at the school are the first positions to be terminated.

 

With the inevitable concern for academics, arts, and sports could also face budget compromises. A new rotation of sports for the spring season will not be cheap, between Track and Field, Lacrosse, Softball, and Baseball. 

 

Track and Field is an expensive sport because of the multitude of activities it covers. Eddie Sayers who does several of these activities deals with some of the equipment for track this year,  “I wouldn’t say necessarily in the last two years, [There’s been a decline in equipment]”  said Eddie, “But the windstorm took away the shot area from us.”

 

For others on the track team there is a similar consensus, according to Cyrus Hansen most things are functional, “ It [The track] was recently renovated,” says Cyrus. 

 

Kerri Zurowski is the high school health teacher at U-32 and has connections to the sporting department. “We understand if we don’t spend our money, they then find that as a reason to cut our budget,” said Kerri.

 

Though personnel is being cut in the academic field there has not been a decline in the personnel in the sports department according to Eddie “I don’t know if it’s volunteer but we definitely have a good amount of coaching,” said Eddie.

 

Kevin Richards is the head football coach at U-32 and works with other coaches for the fifty-two football players at U-32. “Most are volunteer, and even the ones who are paid, we split the contract,” said Kevin. 

 

The arts have a similar consensus regarding equipment. Cameron Graves is a photography student at U-32 this semester and sees a challenge for staff with equipment. “He [The instructor] has to make sure that we don’t break any of the equipment,” said Cameron.

 

The equipment is modern according to Cameron, “I’d say at most three years old [The equipment].” 

 

Mural in the senior lounge by Ava Shanley and the J-term class of 2024 (Dillon Cox/Chronicle)

 

The academic costs give insight as to why the budget costs have gone up. Every single teacher has their own class-specific budget, for example, soccer balls for physical education, but there’s another cost for Kerri: curriculum. “It’s a few thousand [Dollars] just to have access,” said Kerri. A third-party entity sells a curriculum to her that comes out of her class-specific budget.

 

The cost of general supplies is managed by Tucker Cruikshank. “The title is administrative assistant,” said Tucker, the job consists of management of baseline classroom supplies for teachers as well as copying and printing for the classroom. He also works in the library as an assistant. “That’s one of the things I like about this. There’s not a lot of downtime,” said Tucker. 

 

“A lot of schools don’t have somebody in my position…I am retiring next year,” said Tucker. Tucker does the majority of regulatory operations for teachers, without him all his consolidated work would fall to teachers. “Teachers have to do all of their copying…that’s even more of a burden,” said Tucker. 

 

Tucker Cruikshank working in his office (Dillon Cox/Chronicle)

 

The baseline cost of classroom materials has gone up due to inflation, and the usage of these products has also gone up. “We spend a lot of money on Chromebooks…we’re not really using them to their [fullest] extent,” said Tucker. 

 

The usage of other resources is increasing to compensate, “We got a couple more months of school left, and we’ve gone through probably 100 cases of paper,” said Tucker, more, he said, than had been used the year before. “You’d think it’d be the other way around since we would be going more digital, but a lot of classes don’t,” said Tucker.

 

There’s a lot of waste of school materials according to Tucker. “I think if we could work more on developing more of a green attitude…that could go a long way to saving a substantial amount of money,” said Tucker. The numbers may seem small but certainly add up according to Tucker, “Not talking millions of dollars, [but] we’re talking thousands of dollars,” said Tucker. 

 

There are also external reasons for budget increases, “Some of the costs that are driving it up are just normal inflationary costs,” said Steven during a principal’s press conference in February, “Healthcare is also a cost that is not well controlled yet…that’s part of their [Instructors] benefits,” said Steven.

 

As of now, there is currently no plan for a reduction of the arts and sports, and even if the budget fails to pass it isn’t likely. “The art teachers in our schools serve more students than any other teachers,” said Steven, “I would say that there’s not a likelihood of there being cuts there,” said Steven.

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