Opinion

School budget cuts

I am writing regarding the announced school district budget cuts, specifically, middle school sports being cut. I agree wholeheartedly with letter writer Carolyn Tomson (Support for middle school sports, May 6) — cutting the middle school sports program as well as all or part of the high school freshman sports program is not something I would like to see.

First of all, school sports programs are not there for “free babysitting.” They are there for several reasons — school pride, spirit and competition. If you took sports out of school, they would not create the same environment or feeling of community that a school-run and sponsored team does.

Last I heard, the district was looking at a large expenditure for enlarging the commons area at Mount Si High School. The school district is making massive budget cuts, laying off teachers, and is short on classrooms, yet they are talking about spending more on the commons than they are cutting from the budget.

How can they justify that when people in the school district are losing their jobs and the sports options for many hundreds of school children are being taken away? I just don’t understand the thinking here.

Are all the school district’s main office employees needed? Are any cuts taking place there, or are any people offering a salary cut for themselves in order that someone might get to keep their job?

I am curious as to how the school board came to so readily cut middle school sports. The board is trying to cut $400,000 of extracurricular activities from the budget of a public school system of roughly 3,500 children. Why are they OK with pulling the sports funding for 1,200 middle school and freshman kids, and yet we hear nothing of the possibility of cutting Two Rivers Alternative High School, which holds 165 students? The expense and salaries of Two Rivers have to be substantial, and yet it has never been mentioned, as far as I know.

We are in tough economic times and the coffers are not overflowing, so how can they not look at this? Why is it so easy to pull programs that can affect so many students, and yet keep a school with only 165 students and a classroom size of 15. That size would be appreciated by students and parents across the district.

How can a decision of this magnitude be made? Look at the numbers. The district should be looking at the greater good — and in this case, that means the majority. It is not too late to take another look at the options and change direction.

Michele Mahoney

Fall City

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