LETTER TO THE EDITOR: School cuts are getting close to the core
My son recently expressed excitement towards registering for next year’s freshman class at Eagle River High School, in particular because of all the interesting electives he anticipated.
As both a teacher at ERHS and a parent of a soon-to-be freshman, it was with a sad heart I had to temper his expectations in light of staffing cuts and course closings resulting from funding levels far outpaced by inflation.
Our local legislators have supported “cut the fat” budget restrictions for the past half-dozen years. They have gutted choice from our public high school curriculum and are about to cut into the bone of core offerings.
Current budget projections slice another two teaching positions next year (Chugiak is slated to lose over double this, and a counselor); when added to the other three teaching positions cut over the two prior years, this explains why there are so very few enrichment options outside core classes — and why core classes are over-full.
Long gone are Drama and Family Consumer Science, on top of Technical Writing or Teen Issues. Holocaust and Human Behavior? Journalism? Erased. Who knows what’s on the block for next year: Music? Art? Foreign language?
Add to this list of lost resources the several support positions trimmed over the past few years: a counselor, a security member, a janitor, TAs, etc.
When our legislators’ children attended ERHS years ago, they had the benefit of a school offering both robust instruction and varied options to suit their interests and abilities. These educational assets do not seem to be as important to our legislators now.
They are important to me, however: I want my son and my neighbors’ children to have more than a skeletal schedule of courses as they prepare for their future and prepare the future of our community, state, and country. If this is a concern you share, I encourage you to let our representatives know.