Morning Read: Student unrest in…Beekmantown

Okay, not unrest actually.  This ain’t Cairo.  But kids in Beekmantown did express their grave concern about proposed budget cuts.  Here’s sophomore Sarah Thompson, quoted in this morning’s Plattsburgh Press Republican.

“My friends and I were talking about the budget cuts during lunch, and we didn’t like how our teachers were being cut,” Thompson said.

“I am upset personally about the music program. Music is my life, and if you are closing the music program, you might as well just say die to the children’s dreams, because getting rid of that is getting rid of dreams.”

According to the newspaper, about 30 positions are likely to be cut, along with athletic programs and student activities.

Tomorrow during the 8 O’clock Hour, David Sommerstein and I will both report on the backlash that’s brewing across the North Country to the region’s deep education cuts.

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12 Comments on “Morning Read: Student unrest in…Beekmantown”

  1. Brian says:

    I know people think school should only be reading, riting and rithmetic but it’s those “fringe” offerings which quite often provide people with life long skills and interests. Two of my main exercises are tennis and basketball, which I learned in high school gym class. In fact, I would not hold my present job without four years of the “fringe” French classes I took in high school. People pooh-pooh music and sports but they are two of the largest industries in this country. I thought school was supposed to prepare kids for their future jobs?

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  2. Brian says:

    Oh and I meant to add: while I still use tennis, basketball and French, I’ve never once in the “real world” had to calculate a square root by hand (not even to get my college math degree) or draw a parts of speech diagram.

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  3. Pete Klein says:

    If the property tax can’t do the job and is viewed as unfair, then maybe it is time to fund education through the income tax.
    You know, I hope, the bottom line is truly found only at the bottom of the barrel.

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  4. Bob Claus says:

    as Brian indicated above, the first things to be cut from school budgets are the things that teach life skills – music, art, sports, etc. Sure, academics are important, but no more important than the other areas. The answer is to stop trying to fund education with an outmoded system of real property taxes that worked fine in the 19th century but is no longer a viable method of funding schools. Maybe the current austerity will serve to help folks and our legislators realize this.

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  5. Pete has it absolutely right. I’ve said a million times that whatever Albany or DC mandates, they should fund 100%. Maybe that would make them think more seriously before enacting mandates willy nilly. Limit local funding/taxes to that which local school boards voluntarily choose (AP classes, extracurriculars, etc).

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  6. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    First and foremost, we need reform of the state aid formula which is perhaps the single largest reason we find the poorest schools being hurt the most by the overall school aid cuts. This issue is something EVERY citizen who cares about our educational system in New York should be demanding their local elected state official make a priority. Until this reform is completed, we’re going to continue to see these large cuts in the poor districts. Certainly there’s other reform needed, but this is one that could have an immediate impact on next years budget. Call, email, write your state representative and demand formula reform.

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  7. scratchy says:

    I disagree with those who say that academics are no more important than music or sports. You need to know how to read, write, and do math in every day life, but do you need to know how to sing or play basketball?

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  8. tootightmike says:

    Indeed, you need to know how to express yourself in every possible way…not just grunt. Students need to learn active body skills for a healthy life…not just sitting in a chair or couch, not just looking at a book or a screen.

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  9. Pete Klein says:

    Shared services – Yes!
    Consolidate and eliminate our schools – No!
    We lose our schools and we will lose our towns. We lose our towns and we lose everything.
    Indian Lake Central has a T-3 broadband line it would love to share but current laws won’t allow it.
    Better broadband for all will do more to help our economy than any other single thing our illustrious leaders in Albany and Washington might propose.

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  10. Gary says:

    Brian: I don’t believe you are dealing with reality! First I would like to say I am on a local school board. Now this doesn’t make me an expert but I have had many years of experience dealing with the public. First there is no, “backlash that’s brewing across the North Country”. When a budget is being prepared the only people who generally come and speak against cuts are staff members or individuals they have convinced should come and show up. Those in favor of cuts rarely come in the development of a budget.
    The first true test is the public hearing on the budget. Then the vote itself. These are very difficult times and our seniors on fixed incomes will show up at the polls and be heard!
    Like it or not the State Ed Dept. has determined that the core subjects are important for all students. Each one of us as an individual see will have different needs when we discuss life skills courses. Where does a district draw the line as to what elective courses to offer? I taught 4 classes of TV Production in a high school. Does any school in the North Country offer such a course? Why not?
    A good solid foundation will allow an individual to pursue and develop skills in a variety of areas. I consider myself very computer savy. Self taught. I love fly fishing….self taught. I build rustic furniture for a hobby…..self taught. The list goes on. By the way this past summer I build a pole barn….the geometry came in very handy!

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  11. scratchy says:

    I have a question regarding funding for extras. Should parents of students who weren’t athletic or talented enough to make the sports team, cast of the musical, debate team, etc. have to pay for the cost of funding those programs? I can see how a parent of child who didn’t make the cut might object to paying for other children. Of course, this is probably less of an issue in smaller schools, like we have in the North country.

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  12. Mervel says:

    It would seem we would always start with making cuts to administration prior to making cuts to core services. What administrative cuts are being proposed across the North Country as we lay off teachers?

    These little schools for example do not need principles for elementary, middle and high school plus a super. . Maybe these are being cut, but you know for 200 children you need one administrator, you don’t need a business manager for example. Things like that. Also re-look at the massive amounts of busing we do, parents need to step up in that regard in my opinion.

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