by Kim Keener
As most everyone at ESHS knows, El Segundo and most public schools are experiencing severe budget cuts. Furthermore, as these budget cuts continue, they invade the student body like locusts, affecting multiple aspects of academic life. This crisis has caused the school board to decrease its budget by several million dollars. The ways which budget cuts have affected students the most include the reduction of staff and teachers, cuts in sports and academic programs, and a drastic reduction in field trips. Because of the filming in the past years at ESHS, many have made the assumption that the budget cuts would not have as depressing of a turn for El Segundo High in comparison to other schools. However, money from filming has devastatingly been decreased due to a harsh city council limit on filming allowed to be done on school grounds and in the city. This means that some sacrifices will have to fall on students.
The most notable change as fall rolls around is that there are only two counselors instead of three. Mr. Jack Cassette took a pay cut by stepping down from a counselor to a teacher because he is the only one of the counselors with a teaching credential. Senior Alissa Cooley commented on this by saying, “Now that we have two counselors, I waited over an hour to get my schedule changed.” Many others experienced this as well; with so many students to satisfy, our counselors are more than likely to be stressed. So appreciate them! A particular setback for seniors is that many of them will be experiencing difficulties in asking a counselor for a letter of recommendation. Those seniors who had Mr. Cassette as a counselor will now have to ask either Ms. Moon or Mrs. Burns, who would not know them or their academic achievements as well as their counselor for three years did. Not to mention teachers such as Mr. Barker, Ms. Roggin and Mr. Valenzuela are no longer with us: meaning bigger class sizes and less one-on-one time for students with teachers. ESHS also lost a custodian, which means that as much as students may try to keep the school clean, the likelihood of that happening is slim. Also, Mrs. Allen, the school registrar has been cut 20% so people who need her help of transcripts will see her less. In addition, Mrs. Gen, the district librarian has been cut by 50%. While one of the library clerks can still check out books for you, getting help on your research paper will be more difficult.
When classes and services are cut, it means less variety for students, less opportunity for them to find help, and in some cases, to be less competitive when applying to colleges. Last year, the French program at ESHS was extremely close to being cut. Junior Andrew Clark contributed, “…At my old middle school there were three languages. The French program was almost cut; now there’s only one language. It has been speculated whether or not there will be a French program in the future.” True, Andrew used to live in Washington D.C versus southern Califonia, but still. A great aspect of Los Angeles is the culture and diversity; as a county our diversity is most admirable and interesting. To completely loose the study of the French language and culture at ESHS would be terribly tragic. Woodshop and its teacher, Mr Barker was cut, which is inconvenient for those who want to learn industrial arts.
Other programs that are suffering are sports and clubs. Junior Andrew Clark also commented on the effect on our sports teams saying, “Sports teams- there’s a lot less of them. Basketball has fifty freshmen trying out for the team, but most will be cut due to budget cuts. The JV football team got cut which means less playing time”. As a small high school, El Segundo needs all the good sports players it can get, which puts the teams at a further disadvantage when up against bigger schools like Torrance and Mira Costa. Plus, a lot of sports athletes have grown up playing a certain sport; with budget cuts they will have less time playing and doing what they love. Without sports, many could feel less motivated and not want to come to school, which would also decreasing funds because the government pays the school according to enrollment numbers. For those athletes hoping to get sports scholarships to college, the chance of a scout or college representative willing to give them a scholarship is less likely because many athletes will loose playing time. Varsity teams will also get more competitive and cut many people, even if they happen to be a returning player.
Additionally, students that are kinetic learners, those who like to get out of the classroom to learn, will suffer because it is harder and harder to afford the costs of a field trip with school busses costing on average around four hundred dollars, plus the cost of a driver. Finding enough people to go on the field trip is hard work and often takes a lot of time and research to plan. Many older students may think that they can just drive separately to the field trip destination to save a bus driver and bus fee, but field trips occur during school hours, meaning that the school needs to hire a subsitute for the teacher to go on the trip. Field trips break up the monotonous routine of school days and are needed to make school more enjoyable.
The budget cuts are just one more way to make school unbearable and many are bound to consider the purpose of going to school anymore. The motivation of coming to school everyday especially when there’s a nice peaceful beach minutes away is quickly dwindling.