I live in a small community, about 3000 people, maybe less. Our school is small. My daughters graduating class had about 60 kids in it. My son has about 70 in his. So when I say small, I mean small. This year the school decided they were cutting all the arts programs. Not just studio art and ceramics (both popular classes), but also the Newspaper, the drama club, and most of the music program. But the sports teams (all of the girls teams won sectional titles last year), continue to get full funding. Paying to send them to scrimmages as far as 50+ miles away.
My son is not athletic. He is artistic. He writes. He was the youngest kid on the newspaper when he started on it in the 8th grade. Last year he was co-editor, had his own column and he loved it and thrived in it. His favorite teacher was his art teacher, who also ran the yearbook and newspaper. She lost her job in the funding cuts. This teacher was so amazing when dealing with my son. She helped him come out of his shell, encouraged him, edited the stories he wrote and was a mentor. She was many things to many students, but because it didn’t involve sports, well, then that isn’t important.
What really blows my mind is the capital budget project that they are working on. Re-roofing the buildings and putting in new windows BECAUSE THEY SCREWED IT UP THE FIRST TIME. Yeah, that’s right. The roof was put on 10 years ago and they didn’t get the right warranty and now they have to replace it. Because they cheaped out when putting in windows in a new addition, they have to replace them all because they randomly fall down when they are opened. It’s a freaking disaster.
So what about these kids who are artistic? The ones who aren’t into sports? Well, my son is going into a culinary program at a BOCES next year because he can’t take the classes he wanted here. These kids are going to be left in the wind, because they aren’t athletic.
I would like to be able to say that the saving grace in all this is that it is a good school. But in actuality, it really isn’t. When I graduated from it 20 years ago, it was the best in the county. People MOVED here because of the school. Now? Well, let’s just say if my son didn’t have only two years left, we’d look to move. Not just BECAUSE of the school, but because of the deterioration of the town itself. (that’s a story for another day).
It just makes me sad that one group of students can get all the attention and funding while another goes without. It doesn’t seem fair. It’s not like winning sectional titles brings more money into the school. It doesn’t. If anything, I think it cost the school because of the busing of students to far off places to play in sectional games.
My daughter was a cheerleader all through school. I understand that some kids are really into sports. She was, she loved it. And that’s fine. Have a great sports program, but not at the expense of those other students are are differently talented. It’s unfair.