We are concerned about more than just the proposed cuts this year. This is the third year in a row BSD is experiencing significant cuts to the classroom. Here are some specifics as to how these cuts are and will affect student achievement, broken down by building level.
Q: How have the past cuts affected student learning and achievement?
Q; How will future cuts affect student learning and achievement?
- 5 out of the 6 (excluding Smith) buildings are impacted by RIFs this year.
- Increased class size
- Forces multi-age classrooms, not based on best practice, only based on numbers
- Does not take achievement level, demographics, FRL status, etc into account which in turn will widen achievement gap.
- Cuts are not based on student need, only based on number.
- Cuts have happened both with teachers and with paraeducators.
- ABC program cut as a cost saving measure (2015)
- This was the only alternative school setting available for kids with severe emotional/behavioral needs. These neediest students are now mainstreamed into the classroom which does not meet those kids’ needs, and causes anxiety among teachers and kids.
- Para-educator support in Kindergarten district-wide cut as a cost saving measure (2014)
- Lessened readiness of students for social and academic learning.
- Referrals for these classes have gone up significantly.
- These exact students are the same students who are now being forced into either multi-age classrooms or those with large class size.
- SA and IAA are being reduced to .5 per building. Kids are not able to access the library for 2 ½ days out of the week.
Upshot for elementary schools: As demographics continue to change and curriculum pressures continue to mount schools have less and less capacity (qualified personnel) to address the mental health, academic, and behavioral needs of all students.
- This impacts kids’ ability to perform at the high school level.
- Elementary schools no longer offer foreign language.
- Global Citizenship is a graduate expectation, decimating foreign language in the middle schools means true instruction can’t begin until HS.
- Foreign language is offered at all Middle Schools in surrounding school districts - this creates gross inequality among BSD and other comparable districts
- Cuts to PE (past two) means kids no longer get drug awareness and career exploration
- Cuts to SPED services means increased caseloads.
- Cuts to guidance and social work means kids are not getting the services they need, especially at-risk youth.
- 7.8 teaching positions are being cut. Librarian is being cut to .5.
- Across the board cuts means scheduling issues for kids to get into the sections they want to take. This means either there is nothing they want to take, they have to wait, or they miss the opportunity altogether.
- Health and PE reduced which means less physical play for kids. This especially affects kids with ADHD, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- Fewer electives mean more students are shut out of the schedule. These students have more “free” blocks. This is a major SAFETY concern.
- Cuts to departments like Fine Arts, Business, Foreign Language, Music means kids are not able to personalize their education. Example: cuts to non-ensemble music classes like guitar excludes kids who are hooked into the arts, therefore into school.
- Library will not be staffed for ½ of each week. A high school without a staffed librarian??
- New Americans Program (for non-English speaking students) is not staffed for the numbers of kids. Last year there were 27 kids with one teacher.
- BHS is ready to move to proficiency-based learning and assessment. Cuts reduce flexibility in scheduling and impact ability to offer multiple pathways for students to achieve proficiency.
- Cuts to core academic areas reduce AP offerings, multiple sections,
Overall message: Fewer faculty members means fewer opportunities for students. Programs, electives, and core classes are experiencing cuts for the third straight year. Class sizes will continue to rise. Class size, well qualified teachers, and rigorous curriculum are primary factors in student success. BSD does not provide a comparable education to those high schools in surrounding districts.
What parents can do:
- Contact their school board member
- Talk to two people who are not informed and connect them to the issues
- Come to the April 12 meeting