Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, addresses questions from students about possible budget cuts during a student forum Thursday at the Moffat County High School library. The MCHS Student Council organized the forum to spur student involvement in the budget reduction process.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, addresses questions from students about possible budget cuts during a student forum Thursday at the Moffat County High School library. The MCHS Student Council organized the forum to spur student involvement in the budget reduction process.

Extracurricular activities top concern among students at budget forum

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Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, addresses student concerns about possible budget cuts during a student forum Thursday at Moffat County High School. Extracurricular activities and sports were among top concerns for students.

For many Moffat County High School students gathered in the school library Thursday afternoon, the day doesn’t end when the last bell rings.

From speech and debate to swimming, student council to band, many factions of MCHS extracurricular activities were represented during the after-school meeting.

About 40 students attended to voice their concerns and ask questions about potential upcoming cuts to the school district’s budget. The cuts could amount to nearly $2 million of the $20 million budget.

The MCHS Student Council organized the question-and-answer session with Super­intendent Joe Petrone and District Finance Director Mark Rydberg to begin a dialogue between students and administrators.

Petrone said the level of involvement and concern that came from the students did not surprise him.

“I’m so familiar with student involvement, I would have been surprised if they hadn’t become involved,” he said. “I just don’t know how we could leave them out of this. They have good questions, are very thoughtful and their thoughts are based on information they’ve collected.”

Most of the concerns regarding the potential cuts pertained to extracurricular activities and athletics.

The first draft proposal of 2010-11 cuts, released in February, indicates a possible 10 to 30 percent reduction in extracurricular and board-approved club expenses.

It also indicated that closing the MCHS pool could save $75,000 per year.

For Kevin Murray, a student lifeguard at the pool and swim team member, the pool provides an income as well as a possible future.

“For a lot of us, (extracurricular activities) are everything,” he said. “A lot of us are looking at scholarships and other opportunities outside of school. If that’s limited, then we’re limited.”

While Petrone admitted there were no succinct answers to the questions of which activity or activities is going to be cut and by how much, he could reassure the students as to the process.

“Our first order of business is to preserve a quality education,” he said. “Not to eliminate. We can only propose what is reasonable and sound.”

He said from now until the budget is finalized in June, an activities committee will convene to discuss the options for the 10 to 30 percent cuts in extracurricular activities.

They will incorporate input from students, parents, faculty and community members when considering the best possible proposals.

Still, Petrone knows not everyone will be pleased with the end result.

“If I could tell you everyone in the community would be happy with this, I wouldn’t be being honest with you,” he said. “But you have your input, and you’re doing it right now by asking the tough questions.”

Student Council secretary Velvet Warne said she and her fellow officers were impressed with the turnout and the depth of questions.

She said she expects more students to come to the Student Council with input and ideas that they can in turn bring to the board.

“I think now that they know they can talk, they will come to us with more questions,” Warne said. “And I think we’ll definitely have more of these meetings.”

Several students also were reassured during the meeting that some things were not on the chopping block.

There were many questions pertaining to the potential cutting of art and music classes, or the reduction in teaching positions.

Petrone and Rydberg reassured the students that there were no proposed items that eliminated any teacher jobs, art or music classes.

But with the possibility of another 10 percent reduction next year, there aren’t many activities that will go unaffected.

“Our responsibility is to look at everything,” Petrone said. “There is nothing we are proposing that doesn’t impact some of you in some way.

“We just have no choice.”

Comments

als362 4 years, 6 months ago

The costs of these activities should be paid by those that wish to participate. This is only fair.
It is not fair to take books and teachers away from a student that wants to learn so another student can participate in any extracurricular activity.
Extracurricular activities are just as the word states, extra. Not a part of the regular school program, or what school is there for. Certainly not I want my tax dollars to be used for.
If you choose not to pay your own way, then you don't participate. It is that way throughout life. And the correct way.

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justsayin 4 years, 6 months ago

It is important to have extracurricular activities in school. They've been a part of the system forever. Back in the good ol' days, school districts did not need funding support from parents. Over the years, parents have started paying a share of expenses for these activities. More recently, they have been funding a huge portion of those expenses. So, really, those involved in extracurricular activities, are paying their way. It's important to remember that not all kids are in school for academics. If it weren’t for extracurricular activities, many students would not get scholarships to continue their education and pursue their interests. Not only that, but many kids would not even continue to go to school, and the drop out rate would increase. There is no sound reason why extracurricular activities have to suffer or be eliminated. During the school district’s financial hardships, parents are called upon more and more to help out. This is not necessarily an unjust request. However, when the district has some of the top paid teachers in the state, it is also not necessarily an unjust request that administrators and teachers are called upon to make financial sacrifices as well. In the meantime, keep our fingers crossed that the economy turns around so no one has to sacrifice.

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als362 4 years, 6 months ago

Those children that are not in school for academics need to rethink thier position. Very few children that spend thier entire school years on sports get picked to play professionally.
I know several people that I work with that are very good at throwing a ball, but have no idea how to spell a word like necessary. This is totally wrong, and not what school taxes should be spent on. Then after they have spent 12 years learning how to do nothing but bounce a ball, they will have little if anything to fall back on to get a job with a reasonable salary.
As i said earlier, extracurricular activities are just that extra. No parent should allow thier child to spend all thier school time with attention only to sports, but all to many do. Then what do we have? Another person for the welfare roles because of lack of education. I for one am tired of paying taxes on top of taxes because parents didn't have the sense to teach thier children that it is important to have an education. Reading, writing, math, geography and social studies must come first. If the only thing a child is in school for is to play sports, then that student is wasting classroom space, and using teachers time better spent on those that want to learn a regular academic program. As far as scholarships go, the few that win them fewer still recieve more than enough to do more than just buy books. Little reason to sacrifice school for sports. I have nothing against a child playing sports, but that must be considered an EXTRAcurricular activity, not the sole activity.
And those that choose to participate in these activities should help pay the cost of those activities and I am glad that some are. We need more books and microscopes in the school not more sports equipment.

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daybyday 4 years, 6 months ago

als, I appreciate reading your viewpoints and agree in some respects, even though I'm unsettled as to what is best considering that physical fitness is a major component (especially in this high-tech age) to learning, overall health and well being, not to mention the learning involved in teamwork, focus, strategy, etc. Maybe requiring PE class would be an option worth consideration, but my conundrum is that, while I certainly know we can't cut math over sports, I hate to see athletics disappear or the opportunities limited to only those whose parents can financially afford it.

Just a word on athletic scholarships...I agree that very few kids with athletic scholarships will play professionally but most don't plan or expect to. Most of those who do receive athletic scholarships are required to be extremely dedicated in both athletics and academics throughout
college. Signing the dotted line for an athletic scholarship is a huge commitment and not an easy road by any stretch. Maybe the very few who will move toward professional sports are enabled to achieve less academically than athletically, but they are the small minority.

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als362 4 years, 6 months ago

I never said one word about cutting any sport. I said let those that participate pay thier way. Those that want to play and need monetary help might have to look for sponsors.

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westslopeguy 4 years, 6 months ago

To the majority of the posters here: In general, I want to clarify that this is NOT a personal attack on any one individual poster here. It IS a commentary on the education, or lack thereof, of the general public residing in Craig, or at least reading the local paper. It is also a commentary on the ignorant, subjective nature of most posts presented here, in that we all think: "We got it right! It's the rest of the community that has their head in that damp dark place." And that exactly is what frustrates me when I read the commentary posted here. I often read through what I hope are typos, and misstatements that were written in haste. Oft times I err grammatically in my haste. Be it due to rage, haste, just plain arrogance, (Yeah, now and again I've been accused of it.) But I must address this response to:

als: It's nice that you can spell necessary. But as I was reading through your post about how important the 3 R's are, I couldn't help but notice either you haven't made it through 4th grade, or ignored everything they taught you since. With all its recommended corrections, it took almost as long for MSWord to get through your post, as it did me to try to read it coherently with all the misspellings and incorrect punctuation. I am not just being critical, but if you're going to criticize the lack of education that our students are receiving, at least you could spell receive correctly.

Thier is actually spelled T-H-E-I-R. It was misspelled 5 times that I caught. Obviously not a typo.

Each time you referred to "...just that extracurricular activities..." you failed to punctuate with a comma; semi-colon; or colon, (either of which would be a grammatically correct option), to separate what you were trying to say from what was quoted. IE: "...just that, extracurricular activities.", or: "...just that: "Extracurricular activities."

Are you aware that there are three ways to spell the English word that sounds like 2? Further there are three different uses of that word: To; too; or two. If there are too many people that don't know grammar, that would be the word T-O-O. But if those people went T-O school in Moffat County they might not know that that wouldn't be spelled the same as the number T-W-O. Which of those two are you?

While I will agree that the welfare system that we have to endure in this country, state, county and city is a sham, I think Marie Peer would take offense at you calling welfare a role. She, nor the fine group of people she heads up are acting, or playing a role. It is a roll, as in roll call, not a role as in one acted by the posters here.

I could probably go on, but I only hope my point is noted:

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westslopeguy 4 years, 6 months ago

Let's not throw stones when we live in glass houses. And, yes! I realize there are probably a few typos in this too, (or should I say also?), I'm not criticizing you personally. I'm just saying with the lack of education you regularly display here, you ought to rethink what or who you criticize.

As you all know, this is my 2cents. Paul

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Anitadunnce 4 years, 6 months ago

Reply to WESTSLOPEGUY, who wrote the following in pertinent part @9:48pm on 3/13: ". . . you ought to rethink what or who (sic.) you criticize."

Since you are in the grammar correction biz, I thought you would enjoy learning that it properly should be "whom" in your above-referenced statement. Yes, yes, I know that "biz" is only a slang term, so it is okay if you do not correct the spelling of "biz" in your reply :) :)

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westslopeguy 4 years, 6 months ago

Anita, Thancs for corectin me i dint intent that I was perfec laik i sad bfor. but Ifn in 2 posts that was mor den 3400 wurds,(creg daly press spel chek tole me that), you found one mistak, I ken live wit dat. I em aware of the rule of grammer that if it ken be ansered with him or her, it should be "hoom" but if it shud be anserred wit he or she it should be "hoo" . i gess im not no beter den sumwon elce.uups, i gofed!! lik i sed, i aints perfekt, but et leest i got a hi skool edukashon.

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Anitadunnce 4 years, 6 months ago

WESTSLOPEGUY: You're too funny! LOLOL

My fave part of your post is "skool edukashon". The sad part is that that is pretty darned CLOSE to how many of our high school English students actually spell it in Craig. I agree with you 100% that kids need the academics, and that ecucation generally in this country is in a deplorable state...... hmmmm...... and we WONDER how the Chinese are positioning themselves to become the next world power.

It is going to be a great big piece of something gross to choke on for the many School Districts in the U.S. that push Spanish, Spanish, Spanish when they finally realize they SHOULD have been teaching Mandarin Chinese.

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