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Its all about the money: California’s silent recession

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Its all about the money: California’s silent recession

Education fund concept with jar of money

Education fund concept with jar of money

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Education fund concept with jar of money

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Education fund concept with jar of money

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Financial challenges are currently facing a majority of California’s public schools due to a lasting recession in district funding. Among those battling these concerns is the Orcutt Union School District (OUSD) as they struggle to tackle deficit spending like so many others.

Having the fifth largest economy in the world, one might think California schools would be the jackpot of all public school education and program funding. By looking deeper at the matter, our apparent reality is quite the opposite- the state has been significantly underfunding it’s K-12 services. Students and administrators alike are at a severe disadvantage with rippling effects from district to district.

The OUSD is one among many who find themselves buried in financial responsibilities. Pressure to maintain stability has only increased with the receding funds from the state. A report from the district shows a $248,000 budget cut must be implemented for their school programs to maintain solvency.

What leads to this kind of recession? Some driving factors include declining enrollment, upkeep of facilities, rising costs of services such as special education programs and more, competitive compensation for staff members, and fluctuating state funds. As the recession occurs, schools will have to make tough decisions on how they spend their money; often times leading to counterproductive losses in educational services.

The financial conditions of schools all around California are a disgrace and should be substantially more progressive than they currently are.

In Orcutt’s case, this could mean the loss of funding for extracurricular programs. With fewer of these courses, the focus would further be placed on core classes and standardized testing. As a student, I can say this would not go down well. Electives, such as art or band, are often the classes that allow students to express some level of individual creativity and self-expression in contrast to more straightforward math or science classes. If you remove these options, school becomes less diverse and its students can’t discover areas of personal interest.

Another option to decrease spending is to eliminate teacher jobs. In my opinion, to remove teachers specifically from the Orcutt Academy High School campus would be detrimental. Some teachers already find themselves with overcrowded student numbers, and to remove more teachers would be to put increased strain on the working staff. Both teachers and students suffer when they are unable to make connections with one another. Educators cannot be expected to make a personal impact on every student while balancing the chaos of overflowing classes.   

It’s currently unknown exactly where the cuts will be made, but improvements need to occur within both the OUSD and the state of California. We can only hope that newly elected governor Gavin Newsom will acknowledge the broken state of our school funding programs and decide to do something about it. To invest in K-12 education is to invest in the lives and minds of our society’s future leaders, influencers, and decision makers; and it is an investment I feel is well worth it.    

Read the article below for more information on the treatment of Orcutt teachers: https://spartanoracle.com/21802/opinions/what-about-orcutts-teachers/  

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About the Writer
G. Lam, Reporter

Hey there! My name is G. Lam, and I’m currently in my sophomore year of high school. My interests include playing volleyball, writing (poetry, essays,...

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Its all about the money: California’s silent recession