LETTER: Focus on education needs first

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By The Staff

My heart goes out to the school board as they make some tough decisions. I also had to make tough decisions when it came to budgets while I was chief of police of Taylorsville. What I do cut, and where do I cut it.

After reading some of the things that may have to be cut in the budget, I would like to express a concern that money needs to go to the educating of our kids. That means that maybe we need to reevaluate the need for material things that we would like to have, and replace it with the things that we really need. You know, a “wish” list, and a “need” list. What is absolutely unable to be cut, such as electricity, and water, versus benches for the ball field. I want the benches, and fences, but I need the teachers and special needs items more than those.

Let’s face it, times are tough, but to even consider cutting the safe school program where young people and special needs youth are being educated – in favor of safe fences, may be something we need to look at more carefully. I speak first-hand of the Hillview Academy which is located on the hill in the middle of town. You can’t miss it, but many don’t even give it a thought, nor know what a valuable asset to all of the community this school is. That is until you have someone who needs some extra educating. I believe that Hillview is funded by safe school funds. Let’s not even consider taking away something as valuable as this school. This isn’t a wish list item...but a need item.

In some areas of the country I have read that to save money when a teacher is sick, that other teachers take up the slack by combining classes. No, it’s not the best of circumstances, but in an emergency maybe we can think of something similar. Normally a substitute will be given work for the children when the teacher is out. This can be done, I’m sure, as other classes are temporarily utilized. It will save a little money won’t it?

Now another area I read about some months ago, was the cutting of some sports programs to save money for education. Boy, did I feel the hair stand up on my back when I said that. I have immediately turned people off, and they are ready to hang me. That’s ok, I’m retired and ready to go, but before I go, I would like to see educational programs kept before I see some extra activities take place.

I am very supportive of young people growing in wisdom, and stature, both mentally and physically, but this is an emergency situation. I don’t know how much money the sports programs bring in, but maybe for awhile we can analyze which sports programs are needed. If it is self supporting, then I have no problems with it. Maybe this is also a way to save money.

It took quite awhile in our schools to get our football program going, and I would hate to see it scaled back, but if we are that tight, then maybe considerations need to be made. I don’t think anyone would spend money on going to the movies, when their family needs food, clothing or medicine. I think this may be similar in nature.

I’m trying to do in my mind what I think the board is trying to do. Find ways of getting more money, or cutting back where we can. Maybe the federal stimulus plan will offer some relief to schools. Maybe you have ideas. Don’t let the fear of people being against your ideas, or belittling them, to keep you from suggesting them. Maybe one of those ideas might be a key to our problem.

The main thing is that we don’t get rid of a program that is first an education program, and second, that is as valuable to not only me, but the community.

If you want to know about the Hillview Academy, why not go visit it and find out what it’s about. I don’t think that most other school systems are cutting out programs similar to this one.

My prayers are with the board, and I hope you will also say a prayer, that wisdom and direction will be given to them.

Mike Villanova