Teachers Jobs Jeopardized Due To Budget Cuts, Shortfalls

Teachers. Teachers are the source of information that flows into the minds of their students. They assist pupils in making connections deep within the neural networks of their brains. They are efficient machines placed here to help prepare students for what is known as “The Real World.” But despite what one might think, they are actually people too. They enjoy the finer things in life, the simpler activities that we can all relate to. Whether scuba diving off the southern coast of Costa Rica, figuring out how to perform that perfect swing in a casual game of golf, or simply lounging in a rich mahogany chair enjoying a sturdy leather-bound book, teachers, you can be assured, enjoy the same activities as the average everyday person. However, the humble lives of the beloved teachers at Ames High don’t always run so smoothly and are often prey to bigger problems among life’s vicious cycle of stress. These stressful problems are usually conflicts that any student can relate to, but fearing for the security of one’s career isn’t something many students have experienced. For the past year, the school’s budget problems have been preying on the careers of many good teachers. Luckily, not many were lost to the budget’s evil clutches, but the budget has influenced changes in not only their jobs, but also their lives. “The summer was rough,” said science teacher Mike Todd who had found out last year that the district was letting him go. “It’s not good when your family depends on you and you’re searching for a way to support them.” As one can imagine, great teachers, like Mr. Todd, reach a crossroads in their life when confronted with such problems. “[My family and I] had tough discussions that I didn’t want to have, about options like moving,” Todd said. Luckily he found out last August that he would be able to teach at Ames High again the following school year, but not before the school’s budget problems took a toll on his life and career. “I’m not teaching physics anymore, now it’s only biology and environmental science. I’m fine with teaching those courses–I’m just glad to be here,” Todd said. Very aware of the school’s persistent budget difficulties, the students of Ames High were in no way oblivious to the struggles their teachers had to endure. “I would drop out of high school,” said senior Kevin Stasko, when questioned about what he would have done had Todd not returned this year. “We connect on a personal level; I’m not sure what I would ever do without him!” Stasko’s concerns are shared school-wide by the student body. “I feel bad because many good teachers are having their jobs jeopardized,” said sophomore Stephanie Johnson. “The school should really put more money into keeping teachers.” Money, being the painstaking root of the whole problem, is also where it comes back to in the end. If the school isn’t receiving enough money to pay all of its teachers, then naturally, it must let some of those teachers go. No one enjoys saying goodbye to teachers forever, but it has been the most effective solution thus far. “We recently received a surplus of money to keep teachers,” Todd said. it should be enough at this time so that we won’t have to cut any this year.” The school is lucky that its teachers will be safe from the budget this year, but the problem isn’t going to simply wither away, and Ames High can’t just ignore it. Cutting teachers may be one solution, but definitely not the most humane or student friendly. There must be ways the school can fight to keep its teachers; there must be ideas to combat the problem when it rises again in the future. “Any money that we can save from our general fund will be used to keep teachers,” said Todd. “Some of that money is used on material objects instead of paying teachers, so any money saved will help.” Saving money is a solution that proves to be much more popular to students and faculty than cutting teachers. “Anything that can save the school money will help, things like this wind turbine idea,” Todd said. “The turbine generates energy, so less money needs to be spent on electricity, and then we have money that we didn’t have before.” Todd’s ideas might not be revolutionary, but they are productive and of the right mentality. Though Ames High will be protected from the budget’s claws this year, it will rear it’s ugly head tenfold within the next several. If Ames wants to keep its teachers and school alive, then people need to start thinking like Mike Todd, and start dishing out some ideas.