On April 9, 2015, the Soldotna High School Student Council sent a letter to Alaska legislators in response to proposed reductions to education funding.
We, the students of Soldotna High School Student Council would like to address the current status of HB72 as it stands on April 8, 2015. We are gravely concerned about the educational implications of this bill if it should pass as it currently exists.
While we do recognize the importance of drafting a balanced budget, the cuts to education are extremely distressing. With the additional reduction of 4.1% to the Foundation Formula and a cut to other One-Time funding sources, our district is now facing up to an additional $8 million reduction to the new school year budget—which was already a deficit budget and included cuts. We worry about what this means for our school next year and in the future.
With the adoption of new curriculum standards and adjustment to the new testing procedures, we are worried that decreased budgets could lead to increases in the size of our classrooms and a reduction in resources. While each of them by themselves is alarming, combined they could be devastating. Already we do not have enough one on one time with teachers and while we have internet access, our computers and buildings are showing their age.
Extra-curricular activities will also be hit very hard. Student fees to play may need to be increased to help cover the costs of busing, uniforms, referees and coaching staff. Many students are already discouraged about the high costs of participating in sports and yet it is these activities that help keep many kids in school and motivates them to get passing grades. We will need to lean more on local businesses and communities to help with fundraising efforts at a time when they already feel the pressure of helping our local schools.
Thank you for this opportunity to share our concerns. We would encourage you to continue to look at a variety of ways to help balance the budget without such extreme cuts to education.
Members of Soldotna High School Student Council