July 2008 Your Turn

More than 35 percent of you have had to make significant financial cuts in your districts became of the economic downturn. And of this group, 25 percent have been compelled to make at least some of these cuts where it hurts most -- in instruction.

Revenues are down; costs have risen. How does this affect school districts? Let us count the ways.

“Fuel costs have hit us hard, and one thing that we had to take into consideration for next year was the possibility of adding an extra bus due to the seniors and juniors not being able to afford to drive their cars to school,” said Massachusetts board member George Castonguay.

Added an Iowa superintendent: “I am having great difficulty trying to get the community to think about a building project due to the loss of 500 jobs in town. We have had several things take place, like a fire in our downtown and a plant moving out of the community. Downsizing at two major plants has hurt us too. People are scared to spend any money, and gas prices and diesel fuel are increasing daily. I need to see some relief soon.”

To be sure, not every place has been hard-hit, and there is considerable variation even within some states, as this comment from an Iowa board member makes clear: “We’re in a growing area, and things are positive.”

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