Smaller classes, bigger cuts

My youngest son attends fourth grade at Chain Lake Elementary in Monroe. This year their enrollment is down. However, class sizes are not and in some cases they are larger than last year. Along with larger classroom sizes, several support staff’s hours have been cut and the librarian and counselor, along with the school nurse, have their time divided between schools.

The health room doesn’t have a full-time nurse or health room assistant during school hours. This leaves the office staff, who are now short of personnel, to fill in for health room staff.

The counselor now spends one day a week at another school.

Chain Lake’s library will be closed to students during their recess and lunchtime. One day a week the library will be totally closed while the librarian is at another school teaching kindergartners about libraries without the benefit of teaching them in a library.

Although I can appreciate the difficulty in preparing a school district’s budget and the difficult decisions that have to be made, sometimes I do not understand the philosophy behind the process. I am not sure why closing libraries to elementary school students and denying them time to explore books helps them to understand that reading is very important. Or the possibility of telling a child who is in need of counseling support that they have to sit in a room until someone can come and help them. How does this help to make them a better person?

I am not worried that my son’s education or safety is at risk. All of my children attended Chain Lake, and in a safe and compassionate environment they received a great foundation to build their education on, no matter what difficulties the school system was going through. This time is no different. I know the Chain Lake staff will rise to the challenge.

I find it funny that, when the enrollment at Chain Lake was busting at the seams with 700-plus students, my kids were never denied access to the library and the encouragement of reading. Nor did they have to choose what day to have a bad day on, because the counselor was at another school.

It’s too bad that with smaller school enrollment come larger sacrifices. I think I liked it better when the school was a little full.


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