Striving to Make the Best out of a Broken Budget

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A full Mandarin language classroom. Language class sizes have increased this year because of the low budget.

As much of the Hood River community already knows, the budget in the school district has been in a terrible state for quite some time. According to Principal Rich Polkinghorn, the 2015/16 school year at HRVHS is the largest enrollment of students in the history of the school. There are currently about 1,425 students. Although the school has grown in numbers, the budget hasn’t been compensated with money to accommodate the growing student body. Class sizes are large, the hallways are buzzing, and teachers are working hard. It leaves us asking the question: Why aren’t we as a society investing more in education? This is a complicated question with many answers. In fact, there isn’t one simple answer. But Mr. Polkinghorn will fill us in on the current state of our own High School.

As I sat down to talk with Polkinghorn about the budget, there was one common theme. The budget, as Polkinghorn stated, was “complicated”. “We had to make some staffing reductions that were primarily in the world language department,” he added. Another interesting factor of the total budget for the district is that close to 87% of the money is spent on paying the people who work here. That leaves 13% of the budget to be spent on other supplies such as paper and computers.

Last April, Dan Goldman was quoted in the Hood River News saying that the budget cuts for this current year would be $896,000.

Although some of the information seems dire, Polkinghorn reminds us to advocate for our education. “Be patient. You may not get the individualized attention from teachers, but that just means that you need to advocate for yourself and ask for help”. Last year, the community rallied around pushing for a greater budget from the state. The proposed budget, Mr. Polkinghorn added, was “pitiful”. The state needed to do more. “The funny thing was, it worked!” he said. The state started to listen to the complaints. That’s not to say that the budget is as good as it could be, but if we all advocate for the world we want to live in, we can really start to see some changes.

Categories: News

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