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Letter: G-K should think about curriculum needs

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Two articles were printed Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 in the Daily Chronicle regarding the proposed and then passed 2014 budget of Genoa-Kingston School District 424.

These pieces show that District 424 has moved away from concerns for maintaining a full and balanced curriculum to caring more about their bottom line.

Don’t get me wrong, I give credit where it is due, and G-K has done well with its finances over the years considering the state of our state and its “ability” to pay. But G-K has always done so on the backs of its teachers and staff and ultimately its curriculum.

After all their so-called necessary cuts, District 424 will still be operating at a deficit, albeit less of one than many Illinois districts, but at what cost? What the kids lost in terms of curriculum is worth a lot more.

Time was that G-K could and would point to its well-rounded curriculum. But with cuts to the districtwide music program and the elimination of visual arts courses at the middle school, it remains harder to make that claim.

Much has been written about the teachers brought back to G-K, but answers have not been forthcoming about the subjects and the teachers who were not and why.

Although the Chronicle has hyped that G-K freshman sports were supposed to be cut originally, people need to understand that freshman sports are extracurricular. Even if they’d been cut, it wouldn’t have affected freshman physical education, a student requirement. Indeed, contemporary demands for sports would never have allowed for such a “cut” to stand. 

To their credit, teachers and administrators, headed by current GKHS principal Brett McPherson, immediately worked to find funding to maintain these programs. In fact, the G-K frosh sports so-called budget cut was the first thing to be rescinded last spring, as I predicted.

G-K’s administrators’ pay and benefits ratio to teachers’ is still disproportionately larger gap than like districts in the state.  Likewise, paying a separate finance officer when there’s a fiscally savvy superintendent and payroll staff is worth more to the budget than a couple of teachers’ salaries.

For a district that is still deficit spending, was it really worth cutting seasoned teachers and valuable parts of the curriculum? Did the District 424 school board truly not hear the fervent pleas of parents and students last spring?

I guess not.

Julie Sorensen


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