Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No Tissues in Paradise

Featured in the June 11th edition of the NHS newspaper, The Playwickian, is a debate between two students regarding proposed cuts to next year's District budget. You should take a few moments to read how these students view our budgeting process and understand what is important to them. If nothing else, the graphic of our Business Manager Joe Paradise at the bottom of this post is worth a look.

Budget cuts: Cheap . . . or thrifty?

"Cheap" by Jami Notarfrancesco
Time to say goodbye to tissues and hello to longsleeved shirts; you’re going to need them to blow your nose next year. Neshaminy is cutting the eighth grade language courses, the tissue supplies, and is making students pay to be involved in extracurricular activities. With the way families are clipping coupons these days, this major decision, made by the school board, is not a very wise one.
One of the major cuts that students and parents are fighting with is the decision to drop eighth grade foreign language, which would ultimately lead to only four years of a language rather than five. While many believe that is a great idea, others see it as a dreadful one.
Neshaminy should expand the language classes to younger grades to reach students on a higher academic level. According to primarylanguages., numerous studies have shown that those who begin second language learning in their childhood are signifi cantly more likely than late learners to use, process, and comprehend a language of native-speakers.

Instead of cutting the course all together, Neshaminy should stop the supply of language workbooks and the students can use their own paper and supplies. That way, the school will be saving money on supplies and the students won’t have to be disappointed when they can’t take a fifth year of language.
With a budget shortage in the $14 million range for next year, Business Ad. Joseph Paradise not only wants to take out languages, but also limit our tissue supply in classrooms. Lowering the tissue supply in the schools sounds ridiculous to many people. According to Tom Sizgorich, “tissues historically represented an $8-$10,000 annual expense.”

For the 2009-2010 school year, only the school nurses will receive a limited amount of tissues based on a formula of one box per 10 students in a building.The economy is in a serious recession right now, which is why schools need to cut many things for next year.
Knowing that families can hardly afford their homes, the idea of “pay-to-play” is completely absurd.
“Pay-to-play” means having a participation fee, of $65, that a student will need to pay in order to be involved in an extracurricular or co-curricular activity. There are already Neshaminy taxes that families are paying, why should they have to pay more money to have their kid be on a sports team, or any other activity, within Neshaminy?
Punishing the students by cutting off courses that they were hoping to take in the future or having them not be able to get involved in school because they don’t have money to meet the expense of the fees is unethical. Neshaminy should stop spending hundreds of dollars on ridiculous items, such as five flat screen TVs in the cafeteria, and start saving for courses, tissues, and extracurricular activites.

"Thrifty" by Becca Erskine
Everyone in and around the Neshaminy community is aware of the necessary budget cuts being implemented in order to avoid over-ruling the legal amount required, however these budget cuts will be beneficial for Neshaminy, and are completely reasonable for those trying to be thrifty. For those of you who have unrealistic expectations, and are waiting for the district to take out their magic wand and eliminate the need for budget trims don’t hold your breath, but, if those of you have a more fitting proposal, the district is all ears.
For the 2009-10 school year, the state mandated limit on a budget increase is 4.1 percent. We are compelled by the law to limit our budget increase, due to our 1.02 percent defi cit. “The cuts we have made consist of all things we think would affect student education the least,” Joe Paradise, Neshaminy Business Administrator, said. “The idea is to hurt education as little as possible,” he added.
The district is trying to make alterations that avoid angry tax payers. Seventy percent of our community is made up of people without children who attend school; we need to make it more reasonable for them. “Tax payers are as much as a part of our community as students and parents,” Paradise said. “We are still trying to do what is right for the kids, all while respecting the tax payers,” he added.
One apparent alteration to trim the budget is the tissue crisis. Although this may appear unreasonable from a sanitary perspective, it makes perfect sense for those trying to be thrifty.
“$10,000 is spent toward facial tissues each year,” Paradise said. “We are at the point where we are watching everything, and that number is astounding,” Paradise added. If someone else can come up with another way to save $10,000, the district would love to hear their proposal.”
“What would you rather cut- educational spending or tissues?” William O’Connor, board member, said.
Honestly, if people are going to judge, then they should take their comments and form whatever they believe to be a better solution. Truly, anyone whose nose is that desperate for tissues should probably consider buying their own fun little miniature pack, considering we are in the year 2009.
Another big idea that upsets some people is the term “Pay-to-play.” The idea forces students who participate in school sports to pay a $65 fee. “Pay-to-play was created to disperse and create user fees,” Paradise said. Rather then eliminate or curtail sports, this fee is designed to recover about $250,000 of the $1.6 million it costs to support extracurricular activities in the district.
Their notions, though they appear unfair to some, are with good intentions to prevent an increase in next year’s budget. It is inevitable that there will be negative factors, and unfair aspects involved in trimming the budget. But overall, the people of our community need to apprehend that the district cannot create miracles, and they are doing the best they can.

And now the part you are all waiting for . . . Introducing The Tissue Nazi

(The above article and pictures are reprinted here with permission from The Playwickian)

1 comment:

Newbie said...

I enjoyed reading what the students had to say. It's good to see students involved in issues and expressing their opinions. Thank you for sharing this article with us.
Mr. Paradise is a good sport!