State budget cuts caused by the United States’ failing economy are now in turn affecting Washington state, and even AHS could feel the impact when education cuts are on the table. When the next Legislature convenes, education budget cuts will be made and every public school will be affected in some way or another.
“No public school will be exempt from cuts, Aviation High School included,” said Aviation High School’s Principle and CEO Ms. Reba Gilman. “Every school and school district in the State will take a proportionate reduction in funding. We could lose grant funds for operation of our robotics program, and I expect to see fewer grant opportunities overall because there won’t be a revenue source for them.”
This loss of money in scholarships and grants would cause schools, especially Aviation High School, to lose the funds that they so desperately need in this bad economy.
“When scholarships are not available then I am afraid that we will only be educating the people who are wealthy and can afford it and not people with less,” said English, History and Economics teacher Dr. Mike Katims.
With less money for Aviation and other schools, that means less money to do everything that has to do with education including technology and bus service, two important parts of a modern school.
“Technology is important,” said Katims, “if you don’t replace computers every three or four years they get to be really old, slow and outdated and then you aren’t really teaching the modern curriculum.”
This can lead to students getting a bad education which can affect the state, nation and maybe even the world. But at this point in time it makes teacher’s jobs harder than they should be. They worry about how the budget cuts will affect their teaching.
“Is that going to hurt me doing my job with kids?” wonders Katims.
It also affects students and their future and the future of the kids coming after them. Students believe that instead of cutting the education budget they should cut other things.
“I think that education always gets wrongly placed at the bottom of the priority list,” said Kyra Sutherland, a Junior at Aviation High School. “Children are the future of the world, and America won’t continue to succeed in the world if they don’t pay more attention to improving the education system. Personally, I think that America puts way too high of an emphasis on national defense, and some of that money should go to improving education instead.”
But Washington State Governor disagrees with the thought of cutting other things besides education, she believes that everything should be cut in someway.
“You can’t get to $2 billion in cuts out of $8.7 billion without putting education on the table,” Gregoire told a gathering of about a thousand school board members and superintendents and the Seattle Times.
Another budget cut that the Washington government is doing already, and wants to continue to do, is to get rid of bus transportation services to schools. This would mean that parents would have to drive their kids to school, make carpools, and in some circumstances use public transportation, like Metro. The state eventually plans to cut out all bus routes, but the government would continue to provide transportation to children with disabilities. This would save the government $220 million dollars, but at the cost of many kids not being able to get to school on a regular basis.
“I do worry a lot about cutting transportation,” said Katims, “because I think that will mean that many, many kids will get less schooling than they would have otherwise get.”
Parents would have to pay for daycare for younger kids, and older kids would have to take the public bus which can be very dangerous for kids to use in some circumstances. Fewer kids would come to school because their parents would not be able to drive them, and there would be fewer kids getting education. Essentially the school would not be doing their job, causing a low school performance overall.
K-4 class sizes could increase to 26 or 27 students. Currently, class size in the earliest grades is about 23 students, depending on the school and the district.” State Superintendent Randy Dorn told the Seattle TImes. “Larger classes would save the state $216 million, but would have a profound effect on student achievement.”
Low school performance can also come from another budget cut, teachers. The government is considering trimming the staff of schools and expanding class size.
“As a classroom teacher, the worst budget cuts for me are the ones that end up putting more kids in my room,” said Katims. “I’ve got more in fifth period in American Character then I have ever had in American Character and because it is a personalized course, I just don’t think that I am doing as much for each student as I would like to.”
All of these things are being cut to make up the debt that the Washington State government has. No matter what happens there will be cuts in education, but right now the cuts are just ideas.
“At this point, all of the ‘proposed’ cuts for education are just that—proposed,” said Gilman. “Until the legislature convenes after Thanksgiving to consider the Governor’s proposed reductions and begin negotiating the State budget, we don’t know how deep the cuts will be.”
But until then Aviation High School, and the rest of the school districts in Washington State, will just have to wait.
“It is just too early to predict right now as things tend to change rapidly once the legislature gets to work,” said Gilman.