(Editor’s note: This is a Shasta College student essay, submitted for extra class credit as a letter to the editor.)
As we all know, California is currently in the midst of a recession. This recession has forced funding cuts upon schools, work forces, and many other local programs. These enormous cuts amount to roughly 12.5 billion dollars in cuts while funds get shuffled around and divided up amongst local governments (Sabalow). Clearly, these immense cuts are bound to negatively affect Shasta County’s schools however; I believe that despite the recession, the government should not diminish school funding, since today’s students will help determine tomorrow’s future. These budget cuts will force students to suffer through increased class sizes and higher tuition rates. Instead of taking money from education, the government could cut funding from unnecessary road work.
Budget cuts throughout Shasta County are affecting all educational facilities including grammar schools, high schools, and community colleges. At a rally, nearly three hundred people gathered to protest budget cuts being made to Shasta county schools. At this rally, educators discussed how the budget cuts would result in a definite increase in class sizes; classroom sizes were said to increase up to thirty-four students (Winters). I have personally experienced this increase in class sizes and its negative effects at my previous high school. At Foothill High School, I was enrolled in the Calculus class, which was originally taught during two different class periods; however, due to insufficient funds, both periods were combined. My class went from having about 20 students, to having 38 students in one class. This increase of students meant that if everyone came to class, there were not enough seats. This increase also resulted in a different learning environment because the students were not focused. Also, our teacher did not have enough time to help all of us one-on-one. Hoxby, a Harvard student who did a study of the effects of class size on students; confirmed that larger class sizes result in a lack of student progress since teachers do not have enough time to spend with each student. Clearly, if budget cuts cause an increase in class size, student’s grades and futures will suffer.
Not only are grammar schools and high schools feeling the scourge of budget cuts, but community colleges are also being affected. If these extreme budget cuts continue to be made to the educational system in Shasta County then tuition rates at Shasta College will increase. The budget cuts would force Shasta College to raise tuition by $10, making the cost of each class per unit rise from $26 to $36 (Sabalow). This seemingly small increase in money will add up for a student taking 20 units. Shasta College’s Superintendant/ President , Joe Wyse stated that due to the $400 million in cuts to California community colleges, Shasta College funding would be cut approximately $1.5 million dollars, resulting in almost 400,000 dollars being backfilled through increased student fees (Sabalow). Clearly, since school is already expensive, an increase in tuition would prevent some students from pursuing school.
Clearly budget cuts are negatively affecting education; however, I think that we should prevent these changes. We can prevent these changes by diminishing funds from unnecessary roadwork. Some recent unnecessary roadwork was the construction of the roundabout at the intersection of Shasta View and Old Alturas, built from August 19-29, 2011. This addition used roughly 2.24 million dollars of Shasta county’s funds to create. This project was supposed to be finished before school started, but there was a delay due to the work costing almost 300,000 dollars more than what was expected (Mobley). What was the purpose for this roundabout? Nothing. It was completely unnecessary since nothing was wrong with the four way stop that previously occupied the area.
Overall, regardless of the recession in California, education should not suffer. School budgets should not be cut anymore because it would lead to increased class sizes and higher tuition costs. Also, we can reduce budget cuts in schools by reducing money wasted on unnecessary roadwork. After all, if everyone in the community will affect the futures of their fellow citizens; don’t we want to prepare future leaders today?
Hoxby, Caroline M. “The effects of class size on student achievement: New evidence from population variation”. Quarterly Journal of Economics. President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2000. Pg 1240. Web. 17 October 2011.
Mobley, Scott. “Roundabout work to shut Shasta View/ Old Alturas intersection in Redding”. Redding.com. 3 August 2011 at 11:17 p.m. n.p. n.d. Web. 18 October 2011.
Sabalow, Ryan. “Shasta County faces Cuts from Brown’s Budget”. Redding.com. 10 January 2011 at 11:56 pm. n.p. n.d. Web. 17 October 2011.
Winters, Amanda. “About 300 rally in Redding against school budget cuts”. Redding.com. 4 March 2010 at midnight. n.p. n.d. Web. 17 October 2011.
Samantha Magaña is currently a Freshmen at Shasta College, hoping to transfer to UC Davis as a Junior.