Tell Us Your Stories!

September 22, 2009 · Posted By Amanda Stupi · Filed Under California, economy, education, school budget cuts 

hallwayIn Other Words wants to know how California’s budget crisis is impacting education. Whether you’re a student, a parent, or a teacher, tell us how this year is different from years past.

You can do this in a few ways:

Leave your story in the comment section.

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Comments

49 Responses to “Tell Us Your Stories!”

  1. Anonymous on September 23rd, 2009 1:29 am

    Well, I’m taking real estate classes and I thought I could sign up for them at my local community college in Salinas. But they aren’t offered anymore because the entire occupational program has been cut so now I drive all the way to San Jose and back for them four nights a week.

  2. Anonymous on September 23rd, 2009 11:30 am

    I just finished my GE at a community college and can’t transfer to a CSU because they aren’t accepting applications for Spring ’10 semester. I now have to take classes I don’t need to maintain full-time academic status and keep my insurance. Grreeaat.

  3. Malinda Hurley on September 23rd, 2009 6:07 pm

    I need to take one Composition question to receive my Masters Degree in hand. It is going to cost me, “Hold on to your hats, $1,238.00!” I am a teacher that doesn’t qualify for financial Aid.

    Even if I could afford to take a methods course to receive a single subject’s credential to go with this Comp question, I would be denied because they can only accept twenty students this 09 Fall quarter.

    Because I am a grad student, I must reapply to the University in order to take one course, a Comp question, and pay additional fees for reaplying to the University because I missed one quarter at Cal State.

    I am frustrated making twenty thousand dollars less this year, but even more frustred with the thirty-nine thousand dollars owed to me in Back Child Support.

    For the first time, I have come to the realization that all my hard work doesn’t matter nor my education according to those who have created our State’s budget. As a result, it has made me and so many hard working American’s lives out of balace.

  4. Nicole Doan on September 23rd, 2009 6:37 pm

    Although the affects at my high school aren’t as major, classes are overcrowded. Some students don’t get desks because there aren’t enough for everybody. Instead, they have to sit in the back and sides of the classroom on regular chairs.

    In addition, I think some teachers don’t even have a prep period. We have six periods in a day, and those teachers have to teach for all six periods.

  5. Christine H on September 23rd, 2009 6:46 pm

    I am currently a senior in High School and am definitely seeing the effects of budget cuts. Last year, all my classes were under 24 students(excluding PE). This is a great advantage in high level Honors/AP courses. This year, every one of my classes have more than thirty students. My AP English Literature class had 42 students to begin with-the college board recommends 17- and has been shaved down to 33. Also, our library is only open half days because the library bore the brunt of the cuts. Schools can no longer accomodate the needs of the students properly and our public education is suffering.

  6. Keerthika on September 23rd, 2009 7:00 pm

    I am a high school student and this budget cut has really affected my school’s library. I am a fast reader and usually I am finished with books in one or two days. Due to the budget cut, the library opens only at lunch. People can’t go before school to print things or study. Budget cuts to school is not something California needs. California is the 46th ranked for education. The budget cuts need to stop.

  7. Raphael GhieuwSien on September 23rd, 2009 7:14 pm

    I am a high school kid from East San Francisco bay.
    On the first day of school, i didn’t really notice any changes in school due to the budget cut. But then after a week or so, i realized that it is harder than last year to change my elective classes. I stayed in the waiting list for AP Biology, for more than 2 weeks and the class was still unavailable. I also heard it was hard to switch from a harder history class (ap european hist) to a regular history class (world history).

  8. Paige on September 23rd, 2009 7:20 pm

    I am a junior in high school and the budget cuts have effected me personally. I signed up for AP Enviromental Science in the spring, but the class was cut. I was put in my second choice class. I tried to see if I could get into anatomy but I was very full. Thus, I am now stuck with taking my third year of science my senior year, which I am not very happy about.

  9. Marcy Shieh on September 23rd, 2009 7:38 pm

    I am a senior in high school and the budget crisis has made a significant impact on my school. I can no longer check out books before school because the library is closed in the mornings. My AP English Literature class is the largest English class I have ever been in, which makes it more difficult for some students to get involved in a discussion. I originally signed up for AP Environmental Science as well, but the class was cut.

    Many students are being dumped into electives they don’t want because their original choices are overcrowded.

    Counselors are stuffing students into overcrowded classes. Students would enter classes and the teacher would have to call the office and tell the counselors that their class is too full and didn’t have available seats. These incidents happened in my Film class and my friend’s college prep English class.

  10. Bach on September 23rd, 2009 7:50 pm

    I am a junior at my school and I have seen the affects of the budget cuts, both directly and indirectly. I was originally signed up to take AP Environmental Science as my science class this year, but over the summer, the school cut out the program. This one thing completely messed up my schedule for the year. It has also lead to the overcrowding of classes at my school. Counselors are putting kids into classes that are already full. In my film class, a kid comes in telling my teacher that he has transferred in, but my teacher tells him that there is no room and he does not know why the counselor transferred him into this class. I had also heard that one of the Honors Pre-Cal classes was beyond capacity also.

  11. Nicole Pham on September 23rd, 2009 9:20 pm

    As compared to last year, the administration is more inflexible in moving around classes for students because the classes are already so overcrowded. The class sizes for AP classes should be targeted to be less than 20 students, but my AP English class has well over 30 students. A couple students were even dropped from the class without notification to them or the teacher.

    I wouldn’t say that all classes are overcrowded though. The problem seems to be most prevalent in classes for upperclassmen. For my younger brother, his core academic classes are regular-sized, if not small. His most populated classes are Spanish 1 and PE.

  12. Michaela Go on September 23rd, 2009 10:11 pm

    I’m a senior at Washington High School. I think budget cuts are most noticeably affecting our classes. This year, we lost AP Environmental Science. There is also a lot of over crowding in our classes. My AP English class had almost 40 people in the beginning of the year and instead of creating two classes to lower this number, the administration decided to just kick out all the students who had not originally registered for the class.

    I know it is also affecting other schools, such as my sister’s elementary school. The PE teacher who has been there since I was in kindergarten, got her hours cut back to half time.

    Another prevalent change this year is the lack of school buses. Luckily for me, I got my drivers license in time, but having taken the bus to and from school since 7th grade, I realize it must be a burden on the younger students to get to school, especially for students who live in my neighborhood, since we don’t have convenient access to public transportation. My sister, who is starting junior high next year, will have to deal with this transportation problem.

  13. Judy Wu on September 24th, 2009 9:15 pm

    The budget cuts are affecting the classes a lot. My AP Biology class is overcrowded and two more new students were added into my class. My AP Biology teacher was quite upset and said that this year is the biggest class he ever had for AP Biology. Six of my classmates have to sit at e lab tables instead of desks. My English class is also overcrowded; I had to sit on a chair until two of my classmates transferred out. The Chinese teacher at my school is working half time and only teaches three periods. The librarians at my school switch places each week between my school and another local school. I guess the district does not want to hire a new librarian for the other school. Also, this year there were less new teachers and a lot of the new teachers last year were all fired. My sister, who is in junior high, had problems switching into honor classes. She could not switch into honor classes because the office said that all the classes had no more seats which never happened when I was in junior high.

  14. Linnaea Weld on September 24th, 2009 11:21 pm

    As a middle class white girl with a working parent with a fairly stable job, I haven’t felt the budget cuts as much as I expected to, going to an underserved urban high school. Even though they cut the free PSAT for all students in my grade, I can still afford to pay the extra three dollars they added on to the price from last year, for those who did not qualify for the free test.
    Small things are affecting everyone, though. My Chemistry class is 15 people over the legal limit for a labratory class. We have people sharing desks. Every class is over full, but somehow we still have the money to get I.D. scanners to ensure students are in class on time.
    The budget cuts haven’t made me concerned about my education, but more about how the people in power in the school system are going to react to all of this stress.

  15. Rebecca Dreyfus on September 25th, 2009 5:53 pm

    Like most high schools, Albany High has been hit hard by the budget cuts. And, like most high schools, the halls and classes are extremely overcrowded. That is to be expected when a state falls into such turmoil.

    The budget cut has thrown Albany High School a curveball, however. Three weeks into the school year, my French AP class was called into the counseling office and informed that our class was cut. After much protest and letter-writing on our part, the class was finally combined with French 4, as a sort of compromise. Unfortunately, it seems as though our efforts will not help future French students, as the school is planning to cut French 1 and French AP (the lowest and highest levels of the French program) altogether next year. Why? Because the French program is “too hard” and therefore is somewhat self-selected, making it one of the smaller programs at the school. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense coming from a well-reputed rigorous high school. But that isn’t even the weirdest part.

    I attended a meeting regarding these changes the other day, as I feel strongly about the subject and wanted to voice my opinion. The outcome of this meeting was somewhat unexpected, as a friend and I were asked to solve the problem. We were told to look at the problem as an issue facing the entire language program, although only the French program is being questioned. It was suggested that we organize meetings with fellow students to find ways to make the program more appealing, and ultimately recruit more students and reboot the “language program” at Albany High School.

    This is all very confusing. My class was not informed about the AP French conflict until the day before we were told our class was cut, leaving us little time to make an impact. In contrast, we are now being given the ability to voice our opinions and try to change the outcome of this French debate. While we, as students, want to make a difference at our school, it seems as though we have been put in charge of making an essential part of our education possible. Colleges do not check to make sure we have taken the most popular classes, but that we have taken the requirements. Surely if Precalculus was not a requirement for most colleges, higher-level math classes would be small as well. In the United States it seems as though language is seen as extraneous. However, foreign language is a critical part of a complete education, even if it is not the most popular subject. It seems odd, then, that the students who are willing to take a “too hard” class in order to provide themselves with a well-rounded education have been made not only to combine two class levels, but to try and increase enrollment in the program. Having no contact with levels of authority any higher than our district superintendent, it is natural that we, as students, are quick to blame our high school administration. However, the budget cuts have put everyone in some sort of compromising position, and it is unfair to place the blame on our principal or superintendent. Even our high school administration can do little to help us. So who do we confront? We do want to have a say in the future of our school, and we understand that this budget crisis is hard on everyone, but where is our support?

    My AP French class has already met and taken on the responsibility handed to us by the administration, district, and ultimately the state. We have brainstormed an action plan for how to boost Albany High’s dying “language program,” and are soon going to meet with lower-level French classes. Mind you, 90% of the students in my AP French class are seniors, and therefore will not even be in High School next year.

    So, in the face of this state-wide fiscal crisis, Albany High students are expected to take courses as well as soften the blow on the school by managing program problems and thinking up class marketing techniques.

  16. Michael on September 25th, 2009 7:47 pm

    I am a middle school teacher in Concord, CA. We were just starting to get students from the elementary schools who understand the basics of reading and writing, who had potential to grow faster at every level of eduction. Then the student ratio went from 20 to 1 to 37 to 1 at the elementary school. Tell me that won’t slow down those children. AND in their English classes in high school, they had a ratio of 20 to 1 so that they could learn to write more effectively. Now it is up to 34 to 1. Those teachers will not be teaching much writing with that many papers to correct. Oh. And we used to have a librarian in our middle school. Now we only have a visitor to the library for two days a week. No more research lessons. For our naturally intellectual students, no more retreating to the library for the comfort of the written word.

  17. Crystal on September 25th, 2009 8:16 pm

    With new mandates to address student needs (English Learners and Below Basic students, our district has required teachers to teach courses addressing these needs. The law (Williams Act) requires the school require equivalent materials to all students. So if all students are denied a book, that’s equal access. The district “can’t afford” materials for these mandated classes so every teacher just strings something together. In addition they’ve cut prep time and extended school hours, meaning teachers aren’t available for tutoring, yard duty etc. and the students go without. Library has been completely eliminated from elementary, reduced in middle and high school.

  18. Courtney on September 26th, 2009 12:28 am

    I am a student a California State University Sacramento. We are definitely feeling the budget cuts here. First, i couldn’t get into two of my major classes because they are so impacted, even though i was on the waitlist, and then we have to deal with the furlough days that the professors have to take. I have been attending college for a few years now (first at community college now at SacState) and this is the worse it has ever been. Paying 30% more for 10% less just doesn’t make sense and isn’t right!

  19. David Chandler on September 26th, 2009 12:32 am

    The legislature recently emphasized education of inmates as an important part of consideration for early release. Yet, CDCR just announced education was going to be gutted by 30 to 50%. Inmates released without a trade or a GED will be a greater threat to public safety than those who have a trade or GED to make them more employable.

  20. Teacher on September 26th, 2009 7:43 am

    I teach for LBUSD and the cuts are and lack of funds are hitting us hard. We have 800 a month to buy all the supplies for the school which includes tp, paper towels and baby wipes for SPED. That means Teachers will be spending MORE of their own money to enrich the curriculum. What other jobs requires someone to buy materials and NOT be reimbursed?

  21. Unemployed Teacher on September 26th, 2009 8:12 am

    I’ve been teaching at OUSD for the past three years. The budget cuts have caused at least 65 of us to lose our classrooms and contracts. Some who have been with the district for eight or nine years were eventually given contracts again, but the rest of us are back to substitute teaching. Class size in K-3 has been raised to 24-26 students. I thought teaching would be a stable and important career. It seems I was wrong about the stability. I guess the state doesn’t think education is too important because it continues to take away from education.

  22. Super senior on September 26th, 2009 8:35 am

    There are certain courses I need to take to finally graduate but they barely offer enough sections for a limited amount of students, pushing back the expected graduation date. Also, at this time, I should be focusing more on my studies. But, I was forced to get a second job due to the increase in tuition.

  23. M. Addie on September 26th, 2009 9:49 am

    It’s not the worst thing that could happen, but I teach middle school and we got no supplies really this year. Including Kleenex. And copy paper is scarce. I had to buy all my own art supplies…and a lot of my friends aren’t back, in it with me:( (which is way worse than not having a ream of copy paper).

  24. M. Addie on September 26th, 2009 9:49 am

    And I can use proper grammar, I just chose not to do so;)

  25. College freshman on September 26th, 2009 12:16 pm

    Classes are extremely impacted at UCSB. Didnt have the opportunity to attend orientation during the summer so i register for classes two weeks before school started. By that time ALL lower division classes were full. You can easily tell that things here made a 360 degree turn for the worse. Ive decided to drop out, attend community college and return once I get all my general ed done

  26. nora wilkins on September 26th, 2009 1:50 pm

    I have been teaching Spanish at Santa Rosa Junior College for the past 3 years and I was laid off this semester because of budget cuts! I miss it terribly and I know students are missing out as well! I just heard there are more cuts coming in the spring semester. This is a sad state to live in right now! How will we be able to compete in the global economy with less education?

  27. Patty Chen on September 26th, 2009 6:08 pm

    I am a senior at Aragon High School and the budget cut has affected the teacher’s budget for copying paper, so teachers are having the students print assignments or worksheets out at home, instead of just handing them out. For a student to go to a dance, he/she must have no library fines, if he/she does, then he/she can not go until they pay off that fine. That was a never a requirement until the budget cuts. They implemented this rule to encourage students to pay their books fines since there is less money to pay for library books now.

  28. Patty Chen on September 26th, 2009 6:15 pm

    Oh I forgot to add that our French program has been cut in order to accomodate our new Mandarin program. We could not have both and the demand for Mandarin was greater than the demand for French.

  29. Brenda Hansen on September 26th, 2009 10:01 pm

    I am a primary elementary school teacher in Sacramento, CA. The budget crisis is having a direct impact on my job, students, and families that I work with. Not only did our class size increase this year, but we also started the school year without a supply budget. This means we were unable to purchase supplies to operate our classroom unless we paid for them out of pocket. The reason we do not have a budget you ask? Well, being a small district we were unsure of how bad the cuts would be. And, with test scores coming out an dthe possibility of 2 of our schools going into year 2 of program improvement (See No Child Left Behind), we had to set aside some of our site funds that will be shifted to those sites. We still do not have supply budgets and it is day 30 of the school year.

  30. Natasha M on September 26th, 2009 10:20 pm

    The budget cuts have really limited my choices for college. Schools are not handing out financial aid packets as generously as they use to, and this concerns me. Both my parents have received furlough cuts at work, so bills are becoming even more difficult to pay. It’s hard for me to ask my parents to pay for college fees such as AP test fees, and application fees. I’m concerned about how my education will be paid for.

  31. Jacalyn Ho on September 26th, 2009 10:36 pm

    As a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School, I wanted to, like any other student, enjoy my last year by taking classes that seemed of a particular interest to me. We have a photography class at school, but due to budget cuts, all students can now only take 6 classes maximum, unlike last year’s extent of 7 classes. This limits a student’s ability to attend classes that interest them most, and also deprive them of diverse programs that our school has to offer.

    Budget cuts have also impacted our class enviorment. My classes are full to the point where I must sit on the countertops instead of a desk due to overcrowding in the room.

    Teachers have also lost their jobs and great subjects have now been cut due to lack of funding. How much more money must be cut from our education system until enough is enough?

  32. Tiffany Ng on September 26th, 2009 11:55 pm

    I am a senior at George Washington High School in San Francisco. Every year there are new budget cuts and every year there are teachers spending money from their own pockets for school supplies, students are in larger class sizes, and countless other issues.

    Though our school was able to fare better (i.e. we had no layoffs) than others, this trend will not last. As member of the School Site Council I sit through monthly meetings trying to figure out how to use the money we have at school and how to balance the budget. Teachers, parents and students express their worries of our bleak future.

    Furthermore my chances of getting accepted to any public university will be even slimmer with schools trying to make up for the budget gap. There will be tuition hikes, furloughs for workers, dropped majors and most definitely stricter criteria for acceptance.

    Until education is seen as a top priority in the eyes of our government then we will continue to have budget cuts and inevitable measures taken to fix the budget gap. :(

  33. Kimberly Allard on September 27th, 2009 8:18 am

    I am a teacher at an elementary school. Budget cuts have led to larger class sizes at all grade levels. Also, with the change from 20 to 24 in K-3 classrooms but restriction on adding staff OR new students (except K) caused us to have an overabundance of combo classes: K/1, 2/3, 3/4, and 4/5. This is not good for the teachers or the students due to the persistent demand and focus on test scores.

    Our district now demands periodic benchmark assessments based on the state standards and adopted district curriculum. Where combo classes in the past (when I was a kid or even 10 years ago) were not a major concern, now they are impossible to fit in all of the standards. While language arts can be integraded for both grades (especially 4/5) math at certain levels cannot. Imagine trying to teach 2nd grade math (focus on adding and subtracting and regrouping [borrowing/carrying]) at the same time as 3rd grade math (focus on multiplication and division).

    Not to mention that science and social studies do not match whatsoever. For example, science content for 4th grade is: rocks, rock cycle, Earth; magnets and electricity; and ecosystems. Compare that to 5th grade: astronomy and weather; mixtures and solutions beginning chemistry); and living systems (human body/organs/plant systems)! There is no way to fit all of this content in! Even if you alternate years (one year focus on 4th, next 5th, then back to 4th, etc.)…not all the students will have that same teacher/class for both years!

    Even if you deploy students to help them get the standards they need, the teacher who takes those students in is now overcrowded, doesn’t have enough materials, or does not have enough room/desks.

  34. Brent Smiley on September 27th, 2009 8:21 am

    In the district where I teach, LAUSD, we don’t have a big problem with the budget cuts. We have 700,000 small problems.

    With English, Math, Science, and History classes approaching an average of 40 students, I am faced with severly curtailing the education I can offer my students.

    At 10 students per class, I can impart the wisdom of Solomon. At 20 students per class, I can give a world class education to my kids. At 40 kids per class, I’m doing crowd control.

    Questions go unanswered, students blend into the background, materials and tempers run short.

    Now my district is about to start selling off the lowest performing schools to for-profit entities who promise the moon while they suck what’s left of public education dry.

    Our local newspapers have taken to vilifying the teachers and are leading the drumbeat to rip educational decisions out of the hands of the teachers and give it to anyone who purports to have a better idea.

    It is disheartning to say the least.

  35. Teri Hu on September 27th, 2009 9:10 am

    I teach English and Creative Writing at Washington High School in Fremont, California. Several of my students have already commented above about the inflated class sizes we experienced this year.

    Normally, our union contract caps academic classes at 33, but due to the budget cuts that cap has been eliminated. We are expected to take as many students as we can fit desks into the room. In my case, they brought in six new desks (unannounced) one morning, and my largest classes are now at 35. We started the year as large as 42, with students crammed in random corners, but it was understood that those numbers were expected to shrink. No one was sure by how much, however, which made everyone nervous and tense at a time when we should have been eagerly getting to know each other and establishing a firm foundation for a year of learning.

    The main concern I have about the way things fell out this year–Even though I don’t like having such large classes, I can handle that part. My total number of students is 161, which is not as bad as it could’ve been–is that it creates a sense among the student body that their well-being and education are not the school district’s top priority. Which it isn’t. Kids aren’t stupid, they can tell when you really care about them, and when you’re going through the motions.

    This is the real tragedy…with these cuts, young people don’t feel that the institutions which are supposed to guide them to adulthood view them as the single most important element of their mission. When saving enough money to survive to the next fiscal cycle is all the bureaucrats think about, the true goal of education seems to get lost in the shuffle.

    As a teacher, though, I am simply grateful that our union did not negotiate away our no-layoff policy, as was threatened last year. We are possibly the only district in California that has this particular protection, and I believe it’s one of the main reasons we’re able to retain such strong teachers.

    Incidentally, the district DID float the idea of teachers taking a 2% pay cut, which the union kiboshed real quick. As our salaries don’t skyrocket during the boom years, it’s only fair that we aren’t forced to tighten our belts even further during the lean years, either. This stability is one of the compromises teachers make when we opt out of the corporate rat race.

    In the negotiation reports, however, there was no mention of the salary INCREASE the board voted for itself. Typical.

  36. Vicki Ward on September 27th, 2009 8:02 pm

    As a teacher in a Watsonville elementary school, I am experiencing and witnessing the very significant, immediate, negative effects of the deep and drastic budget cuts imposed by the state on my district, and by my district squarely on its employees and students. More than 2/3 of my school’s students are English Language learners, and over 80% qualify for free or reduced cost lunch.Last year, 3rd grade, the grade I teach, still had class size maximum of 20 students. So did Kinder.This year 3rd and Kinder have no reduction. This means kinder classes of up to 34 kids. Ditto for 3rd grade. Even 20 8-year olds is a full house, considering that we have no instructional aides, and a very high set of expectations to fulfill. This year, though, we have only 3 teachers to do the work of 6 3rd grade teachers–we lost a teacher after two weeks of school, so our already larger classes of 27 kids became classes of 33. The teacher we lost was sent to first grade to alleviate overcrowding in those classes. The district, in its infinite wisdom, would not allow our principal to hire another teacher, so 3rd grade lost one. Also, many dozens of students got shuffled around, with several combo classes being created, to deal with our numbers and the lack of sufficient teachers.
    Our office assistant lost her job, and was replaced by a 3 hour clerical employee. Our office manager is way overloaded and struggling to catch up. As we all are. We lost a custodian. We lost several jobs at our site. It’s the same story

  37. Vicki Ward on September 27th, 2009 8:14 pm

    ***this is just to conclude my previous comments which got sent before I had finished**
    Anyway, we are very concerned about giving our students the attention they require and deserve, while having 60% more students in our classes, yet less supporteven more duties than before. Not to mention furlough, no raises, and dwindling supplies. I really wonder how we will get it all done.

  38. a teacher on September 27th, 2009 9:39 pm

    My wife and I got laidoff at the end of last school year after working 5 years in our school district. We both work in elementary. The district did away with class size reduction so they increased the class sizes K-3. We were very lucky to get other teaching positions. I am a fulltime employee and she is only temp. With having a daughter and many responsibilities we were concerned about not being able to provide for our family. The worst part was the idea of not being able to teach, which we both love to do. Hope things get better in education very soon!

  39. Kyla Plumlee on September 28th, 2009 11:49 am

    I am currently a senior at UCSC and i can see the budget cuts already after only three days of classes. Specifically a class i am retaking has 72 students in it this year with only two teaching assistants and one teacher; where as, last year we had two teachers and two teacher assistants with only 58 students. Other students have expressed also that their lower division classes are so impacted that no matter if you are on a wait-list you can not get in. My biggest lost in my final year is that my major counselor who i’ve been working with for 4 years has been changed. Now all of the UCSC science students go to one undergraduate counselor who does not know us or our programs.
    Currently at UCSC there are some interesting things happening that don’t make sense with these budget cuts. We have massive construction that has been going on and having our campus roads recovered. I do not understand why our campus is putting funds into expanding our campus or repaving roads instead of putting that money back into our Professors and educational programs. We as students pay money for educations not for new buildings that won’t be used for another year or roads that were just fine?

  40. Luke on September 28th, 2009 3:47 pm

    As a first semester senior at CSUS, it’s frustrating to see some very real discrepancies in the school’s spending during this time. While they are furloughing professors and cutting classes, making it increasingly difficult for us to get what we’re paying more and more to get (an education), they’re offering $1,500 more in funding to each student organization on campus and have re-upholstered or replaced much of the furniture in the University Union. Shouldn’t the budget committee of CSUS be looking at the situation and redistributing the money that’s being spent on things that are extras to take care of things like, oh I don’t know, capstone courses for certain majors that will not be offered next semester? Or, and here’s a really crazy thought, making it so that students don’t have to suddenly get hit with more fees after we’ve already paid? It’s bad business, it’s bad leadership, and it’s making for bad education.

  41. Elizabeth Wilmott on September 28th, 2009 5:36 pm

    I go to Cal Poly in Pomona CA. Our tuition and fee’s increase by 32% for the 09-10 school year. Our professors and staff were forced to take 2 furlough days a month due to the CSU budget cuts. So now we are getting 90% the education for 32% higher a price…doesn’t match up Mr. Government.

  42. Alex Sauerwein on September 28th, 2009 5:40 pm

    I am a student and a part time employee for the school district. I go to West Valley college in Saratoga, CA and this semester has been the hardest semester EVER to get classes. Out of the four semesters I have taken classes this has to be the worst. Classes are packed. I am only in two classes because it was so difficult to get into a class. Even the only classes that never get full (i.e Geology) were over their limit.

    When I am not in class which is most of my time now since I have half the classes I normally would, I am trying to find more work because my job at the Recreation is being hit by the school budget cuts. I only make 9 an hour and it is barely enough for my monthly needs.

    I think it is ridiculous that the people we have elected into office are not doing something to fix this problem. There are many people who do not pay taxes in this state (California) that should, or even this country!

  43. Kyle Patrick Desmond on September 28th, 2009 7:57 pm

    My name is Kyle Desmond. I currently go to California State University East Bay. The budget cuts are effecting my school greatly. My education for which I am paying even higher rates is being cut short. Our teachers are being forced through an involuntary furlough period of six school days. For those who do not know what furlough means; because it is a euphamism which makes people not really care (because I am sure the average person has never heard this word)…it is forced unpaid time off. The teachers get to choose within their field which days they will take off which strikes problems within itself. It seems to me that the school simply cuts programs and funding that takes from the students as much as possible, unless it comes to the sports teams. Companies such as ARAMARK charge us 3 dollars for a slice of bland cardboard (pizza) where other CSU’s such as Chico are charged only a dollar for the same exact measely slice. This is just one item of food that they overcharge for at my school alone. The daily parking pass at CSUEB is $7 dollars A DAY! That is outrageous. I went to the community college just down the hill on the other side of town Chabot and they charged 2 dollars a day for parking and I am sure is likely to spike since they are doing a lot more construction there as well. They have a brand new parking lot and charge 3 times less to park. This is a crock! I just bought a parking pass for 95 dollars which I am sure is not pro-rated for the 6 furlough days in which I do not get to go to school. They should have just closed the campus for one week but that would have been too inconvienient for ARAMARK because they have to keep open the lunch line and overcharge us for our Gatorade. Too bad we are stuck in a 10 year contract with them. The powers that be suggested that I take the bus. I laughed at them for many reasons. ie Why would I take the bus when I have other places to be that don’t charge that much for parking or at all for that matter when I have a car of my own. The parking lots in the big city of San Francisco do not even charge that much to park. Another reason in which my History of Rock & Roll teacher would surely agree with is…the music industry have brainwashed everyone with whatever is on the radio and a whole generation of children have been taught to become gangsters and hoodlums. I know because I was one of them. I will be doing a documentary on this phenomina in the near future. It can also be seen on National Geographic. The president of my old community college took the bus one day to show the students who were complaining about the conditions and he couldn’t even take it round trip. He had his car parked at the subway station B.A.R.T. and probably burned his suit once he got home. He probably fired his publicist shortly after. There are so many things wrong with the budget cuts it is unbelievable. My questions are, why has the government given a Bailout to all of these major corporations and conglomerants of 45 BILLION dollars to some banks and then we cut funding for schooling. I guess they cut the funding for the class on morals. How come I can’t get bailed out? I haven’t lost billions of dollars. Instead of giving all these people second chances give some smarter new people a FIRST CHANCE. That sounds like a good idea to me! I know a lot of people who live in worse conditions than those in jail yet we pump all this money into the jail system and cut funding for schools!? This country is a sham right now. That is not what America should stand for. I barely get to eat but people in jail get 3 hots and a cot and often times more than that. It costs around 75k to house an inmate for a year and I know free people who make less than that. There is a serious problem here. I see on television every single night shows about people in jail but I am the funniest guy you’ll ever meet and I couldn’t get my own show. What a Joke! Then they show how the inmates get segregated by orange, brown, and yellow…I’m sorry, but isn’t that just giving the gang members a different color to Rep?! Instead of Red and Blue it’s the color the prison guards can understand. That is idiotic to me. It’s all about money and mafia…I know, but damn, either kill me or give me a little money to shut me up. Just don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining. We are not stupid!…then again, it looks like we are.

  44. Kate Bradshaw on September 28th, 2009 9:42 pm

    I’m a high school student at Colfax High and I recently wrote an article for the Colfax Record describing how budget cuts have impacted my school. I tried to take a different angle and discuss some of the positive changes that have resulted from the financial strain of budget cuts.

  45. Kate Bradshaw on September 28th, 2009 9:43 pm

    Here’s the article:
    The California budget crunch has put a financial squeeze on schools across the state. Colfax High School has also been under the added pressure of declining enrollment.

    Consequently, several innovative solutions have arisen to utilize the resources available at Colfax High. Faculty and administrators are answering the crisis with smart and innovative changes that maintain excellent teaching and student programs.

    The Leadership, Multimedia, and Yearbook programs have been combined in an effort to pool resources and protect specialized programs at risk of being eliminated. With more than 100 students, this amalgamation is the largest class ever recorded at the high school.

    At first glance these courses seem to carry little crossover material.

    Yearbook instructor Terry O’Keefe explained the cross-curricular relationship: “The ability of programs like leadership to thrive is based on how well they market to the community. Multimedia and Yearbook are there to help with publicity and graphic communications.”

    In addition to preserving such essential programs, O’Keefe continued, “We want to encourage students to perceive new situations beyond their experience. We offer students a variety of skills, all of which can be used under a leadership scheme.”

    One such experience was the “Anatomy of Colfax” interactive tour, in which students met each non-teaching staff member and learned about his/her role on campus.

    Another change that answers a tight copy budget is a school-wide increase in the use of electronic resources. Gone are the days of 10-page fill-in-the-blank packets. Students are now being required to take old-fashioned notes from Power Point or overhead lectures.

    A.P. Environmental Science teacher Suzanna Johnson offers a different perspective on this movement to reduce paper usage, believing it to be environmentally benign.

    “Our society is very consumptive,” she said. “The budget cuts are really making us rethink that. In the long-term, [our choices] will push the economy to become more environmentally-friendly.”

    Administrators are also utilizing alternative means of communication. The school increasingly uses “Ed-connect” phone calls, in which Principal Rick Spears calls the home of each student with a weekly message.

    On Friday, progress reports went home with students, saving postage costs. Now more than ever, administrators depend on students to communicate with their parents.

    Spears and Vice Principal Judy Hardman discussed their financial strategy.

    “Our plan has two parts: First, we’re doing our best to think of ways to save every cent,” Spears said. “We’ve had our staff brainstorm and we’re really trying to make everyone more responsible. Secondly, we’re depending more on groups like the Falcon Foundation and Parent Club to help us earn what we need.”

    One current fundraiser is called $50 for 50 and targets alumni, asking them to donate $50 to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.

    However, these innovations are not enough to cure all the campus’ ills. One struggle administrators have had to face is failing technology.

    “Everybody in our school is being more thoughtful and trying to conserve and make a difference,” noted Leadership teacher Justin Heimann. “We’ve been forced to reflect on our practices, which isn’t necessarily easy, but I think it will help us make changes for the better.”

  46. Megan A, on September 28th, 2009 11:19 pm

    I am a student at UC Davis, and we are seeing the effects of budget cuts left and right. Many of my professors are unable to hand out hard copies of their syllabus because of restriction on printing, which is very hard on students who do not have constant computer access. Also within my major many of the classes are either not going to be offered during my two years of attendance, or they are not taught by Professors, but they are taught by grad students who are studying the material and generally have very little teaching experience. I personally find this annoying because I am paying my $3300+ a quarter to be taught by the professors, not by fellow students.

    Also due to the rising costs of tuition I am going to have to get a job this school year in order to be able to continue to afford college, even after working for four years during junior college to save up money to go to UC.

  47. Natalie Ma on September 29th, 2009 9:45 am

    At UCLA, a massive number of classes have been cut, several general education requirements abolished, lecturers and grad students laid off, and an increase of student fees by about $3,000 a year. However, we are still going ahead with not one, not two, but FOUR multi-million dollar construction projects. Two are already under way, the renovation of one dormitory and the completion of a new Life Sciences Building. Two more are slated to begin soon. One is the renovation of the campus eateries on the south side of campus, because they apparently “do not meet student needs.” They serve food which we eat, so I don’t know what more the place needs to do. The second project is the renovation of our on campus sports arena, Pauley Pavilion. I have no idea why this one is even being done, although I can guess that maybe it’s because we have obscene amounts of money set aside for the athletics department.

    I recently asked a friend of mine about the construction. She says UCLA has been continually under construction for several years now. What a waste of money. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s discovered that the UCLA administration has been using construction as a front to embezzle money. At the least, they are guilty of wasting school funds.

  48. Connie H. on October 2nd, 2009 9:01 pm

    I teach fist grade with 30 students, 15 of whom are second language learners. My classroom is so small and we are so crowded that I spend much of my day telling kids where to sit so that they can see! My line to go anywhere is so long that I leave with the beginning of the line and let the end trail behind. I’d line them up two by two but there isn’t room in the classroom to do that. Everything I used to teach with when I had a class of 20 has to be increased by 10, at my own expense. I’m afraid to let parents see how difficult it is to crowd 30 kids into this space; I don’t want them to flee the district and cause us to go bankrupt! Thank God I have great colleagues and a great principal. I choose this year to let go of the standards and teach the children what they need to learn, the way they need to learn it.

  49. L.E. on February 6th, 2010 9:20 pm

    I am a community college student that had aspirations to transfer and go on to a four year program in environmental sciences when I began. I have been at American River College in Sacramento for a little over 2 years and have seen the changes from the budget cuts and have experienced the bureaucracy at work in the institution. I am baffled by the institutions’ allocation of funding to continued construction and unneeded improvements, the class size increases, teacher/classified staff layoffs, student services being cut or denied, and administration hiring increasing. Student jobs are phased out and are all being filled by administrators who make a living wage not the 8.25 an hour they pay students, and actually get benefits and retirement. How they can cut the students jobs and hire outside permanent employment is highly suspect of some type of scandal when budget cuts are being made.This just doesn’t add up. Worse of all fees have increased, classes are harder to get into, there are less classes to enroll in and more students paying fees. This just does not make since, if you have more students/less teachers = more revenues. More revenues and less employees = budget cuts? The students are paying for the mistakes of the institutions and we are the customers! Whats even worse is that we don’t have any promise of what we are going to do with this education when and if we finish. Will there be great paying careers looking to hire us, we can only hope. That’s not suppose to be how it works… I have witnessed a complete breakdown in checks and balances that seems to plague the very fabric of the college systems governance. If you try to find information on these budget cuts good luck you will most likely not find a trace of evidence as to where the money they saved by taking classes, jobs and services from the paying customer is going or how tighten their budget actually helped. It just seems to not be a concern that the students who support the institution might want to know where the money is being saved and where the money they pay is actually going. Especially if it isn’t serving the ones who pay for it and are suppose to benefit from it.

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