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Tough Love and Tough Choices

As the district proposes more budget cuts, layoffs, and elimination of services, Trenton Public Schools is stuck between tough love and tough choices.

finds itself in a very tough situation that will result in many hardships, with one being the elimination of general transportation for the students. If the school district is worried about losing students, why would they cut the very transportation that gets them there?

Bus services in a school district of any size are seen as a staple, but they do not come cheap. In Trenton, a city of 7.5 square miles, it takes several buses every day to pick up and drop off students. It costs money for fuel, maintenance, repairs, paying the mechanics and drivers, and even replacing individual buses.

Essentially, if a bus is moving, it's costing the district money. Looking at the deficit, even with the proposed cuts, this is money the district does not have.

While Trenton is not the only one to seriously consider cutting transportation; other districts have proposed alternative ideas. Last year, parents in Douglas County in Colorado were faced with the decision of a pay-per-ride fee for their children to ride the bus. While the fee could have been up to fifty cents per ride, the idea could bring in thousands of dollars in a week in a large enough area.

A flat-fee can also be suggested as an alternative, but a pass could cost parents over $100 for the year. Would the public be open to a system designed to help keep the buses running?

Unfortunately, the state of Michigan has the board in an uncomfortable position, as they also have to worry about the Snyder cuts and if they pass. While the previous public meetings had many ideas for increasing revenue and decreasing the deficit, the preliminary 2011-2012 budget presented by Superintendent Savel would save the district over $3 million, but what will be the final sacrifices?

The elimination of 26 teaching positions, three administrative positions, and talk of asking the teacher’s union of taking a pay decrease are some of the largest. As for the 26 teacher layoffs, it affects more than a career. Each student, past and present, which looked up to and respected the teacher will feel the loss. Anyone that had a favorite teacher understands their dedication to the job and the students.

It’s a painful transition for everyone, especially when the classrooms become overcrowded.

With the budget deadline only months away, the brainstorming on preliminary cuts became rather controversial before any ideas were finalized. Putting actual numbers behind the reductions should give people better expectations and reasoning of the most disputable cutbacks, but what about the anticipated consequences?

One was noted by Superintendent John Savel at the board of education meeting on Monday that funding would decrease if enrollment continues to drop. If each potential or current student lost equates to a staggering loss of funding over any length of time, then the repercussions could be severe as a result of larger classrooms and a lack of public transportation.

With the June 30 budget deadline quickly approaching, the board will have another meeting at 6 p.m. on April 5 at the . Those that wish to discuss the meeting further should attend the meeting and share their ideas and concerns.

Justa Friend April 01, 2011 at 03:25 AM
If enrollment continues to decline, then why would we need the same amount of teachers, and why would there be "larger classrooms" ?

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