Sports or Books?

In this era of cost-saving measures, what should we cut or reduce? Some say high school sports should be cut while others say college campus staff members should be given the axe. There are a range of ideas, but what is the right area to cut back?

Stream of consciousness alert!

I tend to advocate for program cuts first. What are the “nice to haves” versus the “must haves”? And there are no easy answers.

If a program requires extra people primarily for bureaucratic reasons, I say cut it. We have programs like the Medicaid Match program where teachers record how much class time and duty time is devoted to helping students with health or counseling issues, and then these recording sheets are given to a clerk who specifically has to document, verify, and refer the records to another level of scrutiny. Relatively little money is generated per school for this program, maybe $1.25 per student (which my school uses to run detention halls, which are not very effective but is a whole other post).

We also have programs which duplicate the services of other programs. The same pool of students is double or triple served. This type of cost can be eliminated quickly or altered to help more students. Since most students cannot be in more than one program at a time, we have numerous programs with multiple open slots and no one to fill them.

We might converse about the feasibility of a student-driven schedule. Should we allow students to choose their classes, or should we ask for preferences and fill the classes we decide to offer using the preference lists as a guide only? Do we keep programs that serve a sliver of the population while other programs are overcrowded? Do we offer sparsely filled classes just to say we have a wide variety of offerings?

My school also has clubs with paid advisors who only have 4-5 club members, yet these clubs have the same stipend as clubs with up to 50 members. Is this a good use of student body funds? Should popularity play any role in the cost or allotment of an activity?

Should students who fail a core course automatically be enrolled in a cheaper online version rather than be in a regular classroom setting? Would it be cheaper only in the short-term? Should summer school be mandatory? I know my district pays relatively little to summer school instructors even though the workload is similar to that of the normal school year.

I’m just rambling some ideas off the top of my head, but I’m wondering what will drive the decision-making processes used to determine what stay and what goes. It could be scary.

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