The Schools' Fiscal Cliff
Eberwhite Elementary principal Bill Harris speaks passionately about the budget's impact on his students. "We lost 30 percent of our reading intervention staff. We used to have ten teachers across the district, and three are gone. We have less money for supplies. It was 7 percent down last year, and it'll be more than that this year. And math tutoring is gone."
Harris has already reduced office, lunch hour, and custodial staffs at the school. "Floors and bathrooms get cleaned less often," he notes. And the school can no longer afford field trips. "At Eberwhite, our PTO provides the funds for one field trip for each of our grades," says Harris. "Our PTO has always done fund-raising, but they've had to get more aggressive."
Parents, though, can raise only so much. In the long run, Mexicotte believes, the funding system created by Proposal A needs to change.
"It's pulling the top down, but it's not raising the bottom up," she says. "We've been giving and giving and giving, and we're portrayed as either corrupt or incompetent, and we're neither."