Budget cuts here, budget cuts there. Thirteen teachers were let go last year, causing a rise in class sizes to an average of about 30 students. It’s hard to not feel the effects of the slashed budget. The closing of Mission Valley and two other elementary schools has pushed the replacement schools close to their maximum capacity. Indian Hills’ enrollment jumped from 498 to 757 students this fall. School board meetings have primarily focused on budget cuts in the past year with the cutting of $8 million district wide, but they could have been cut from the district bonuses for club sponsorship.
Teachers make a set amount of money each year based upon their individual contract, but there are many teachers that also get bonuses on top of that number—sometimes, seemingly just for an extra title. There are teachers that make extra money for putting in time for their own classes, such as concerts, but English teachers also put in many unpaid hours of grading. East has a “drug free school club” that is sponsored by two faculty members who earn $850 for that position—the club isn’t even mentioned on the “clubs” page on the East district website. It is not logical to be paying teachers money for a club that is not recognized by the student population. Granted, there are teachers that put hours of work into sponsoring their clubs and they are appreciated. However, the clubs that aren’t as as known by the student body shouldn’t bring bonuses to teachers.
Many teachers and faculty are, in fact, putting in hours working on their various clubs, but the money that the district pays could be cut in excess positions as well. Having teachers that collect tickets at games, a position that gets paid roughly $370, is a wasted expense. There are students who are looking for service hours and parents who are generally willing to help in any way they can. Having them volunteer would be a great way to avoid this added expense. No one would get paid and the district wouldn’t have to waste that money. Not all of the money has to be eliminated, but if it was reduced then that would free up more funds for the district.
In some cases teachers are earning $4,000 for extra time outside of school that is already part of the class that they teach. There is not a need for the district to be spending this kind of money on positions that are closely related to the job they’re already doing. The district is already low on funds, so cutting these costs would take some pressure off of the general fund.
There are a few valuable areas in which the district could reallocate the money to be used in more effective and beneficial ways. One of these is the library. This year the district cut out all funding used to purchase new library books. Some of the money used for club sponsorship could go to purchasing new books.
Money could also be used for buying more computers for each department, so more than one Spanish teacher could use the laptops at the same time. The district has also implemented a new $90 activity fee where $50 of that go to the district general fund. If some of the excess salaries were shaved off families wouldn’t have to have that extra expense.
East has also lost two janitors this year causing more work for the ones left and not as clean of a building. If some sponsorship salaries were cut then the cleanliness wouldn’t be compromised.
There is not a problem with having many clubs and ways for students to get involved in. But the district could find better ways to spend the money spent on them in a way that would affect a greater variety of students and the student body as a whole.