Student: Latest budget cuts have tangible results

BY MOLLY MAGIER Student Writer

Student Writer

In the past, when a school budget did not pass, it might have meant no extra school dances, no progress on better school lunches and no new rocket for science class. However, this year students were confronted with a regressed learning environment.

Every school day, students listen to lectures on this nation’s history, they eat an unequivocally delicious school lunch, and they scurry quickly in a mob through a cloud of cheap men’s cologne past the boys’ locker room to get to class on time. None of this has changed.

On the other end of the spectrum, a curiously hidden aspect of school has been deeply affected by budget cuts this year. Three specific aspects of school life, neither routine nor unimportant, have either been made almost inaccessible or have ceased to be an option at all. They are field trips, clubs and sports teams, all valued experiences for kids.

Field trips in the ninth grade are now nonexistent. According to conversations with other students, field trips offer a certain kind of learning environment by giving kids the independence of going somewhere without their parents, with the safety of having teachers looking out for them. Students agree it’s easier to understand the things and places you’re learning about if you can actually go and see them.

Perhaps even worse is the downslide that extracurricular activities have taken. In the opinion of many members of the student body, clubs and sports offer a certain level of identity to children that isn’t found in classes of 30 and gridlock in the science hallway. Clubs introduce teens to peers with similar interests, making them more comfortable, and sports help kids learn to make commitments and socialize on a more mature level.

Demonstrably, the school newspaper is merely a packet of paper stapled in the corner. The clubs, once widely available to all students regardless of economic status, now cost $10 to $15.

That doesn’t even cover sports. The excessive $50 fee, which is well out of reach for many people, is required of all student-athletes. Further, there is a $52 charge for the booster club, which all sports-lovers have to join. Students do have the opportunity to make the money for the booster club back by selling chocolate. All of this money is in addition to the cost of gear, uniforms and school-spirit clothing such as jackets and sweats. The financial burden becomes substantial.

With such stiff competition to get into universities, schools should be doing everything they can to help students to stand out via extracurricular activities, not putting as much as $102 or more between teens and their future.

Molly Magier, 14, is a ninth-grade

student at Churchill Junior High School, East Brunswick