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A 10th grader's view of a budget vote

May 15, 2011 11:22 pm
By Audrey Malloy, 10th Grader
With something such a big part of students’ lives, you'd think they would know a little more about their own school's budget. Every day, they use the staplers, the bathrooms, the Snapple machines, and the instruments provided for by that budget. But it's shocking to learn how little they really know.

When asked, informally by this reporter, less than one-fifth of the students in this reporter’s school knew how much the proposed budget for this year is, and even less, 1 out of 50 I’d guess, knew when the budget vote is being held (Tomorrow, May 17, is the statewide date). A handful of interviewed students had formed opinions on the budget, but mainly from the influence of their parents discussing it around them at home, and not so much real information.

The fact of the matter is that the school doesn't provide the students with information about the budget, nor does the media. However, if it would be cut, these students’ lives would be drastically changed.

Sophomore Violet Lasdun is one of the many who don't have a clear opinion. “I'm not qualified to give a factual opinion, but from the surface, I'd say the budget is best left to those who understand the economics of our community,” she said. “However, I'm not fully sure the school board is qualified for this either, because they seem to be more interested in paying lower taxes than bettering the education of our youth.”

This may sound harsh, but remember it's coming from one of the many students who aren't fully informed about our budget.

Senior Ian Flournoy is against the budget cut, with a view many agree with. “I'm not certain of the exact number, but whatever that figure may be, it's limiting creativity. Instead of reinventing old programs to better add to the education experiences, we're looking for programs we can cut from the budget to 'just get by,'” he said, one of the few students who have actually attended board meetings. “It's just too limiting. I can complain all I want about how it's not enough to facilitate creativity, but I have no proposed plan of action to change it.”

Junior Evan Wolff is another student dedicated and interested enough to attend meetings. “I am proud of it. sure, it does eliminate a lot of jobs but in the grand scheme of things it will not affect day to day school life. Most of the clubs will still exist as well as sports,” he said before bringing up the subject of teachers who might be facing lay offs “I think the cuts are a necessary move, not only because of the budget but because the number of students in our school is going down.“

Freshman Garland Berenzy feels as though we should reevaluate the means of our spending. “In my opinion, educational values and the safety of the students should be put before anything else,” he said in response to the controversial installment of video cameras in the hallways od several local schools. \

Senior Zak Apolito cut straight to the chase. “I think that [the cameras] could be helpful, but in my experience, not enough happens for them to be worth the money.”

I found many students felt this way.

However, senior Taylor Armstrong has faith in them. “I think the cameras can be seen as an invasion of privacy, but I do believe that, if used properly, they will greatly benefit the school.”

This turned out to be a statement many agree with. When the cameras were first installed, a wave of discomfort washed over the school. Would they be watching everything? Listening to all of our conversations? However, once we discovered that it wasn't a live stream from the restrooms, people became more at ease.

Audrey Malloy is a sophomore at Onteora High School in 10th Grade. She is finishing up a mentorship program with WGXC and several other local publications. This work, original to WGXC, will eventually have audio and visual components accompanying it.