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Letter: High School Student Talks School Budget

A North Kingstown High School student voices her and her classmates' concerns over the school department's budget.

To the editor:

My name is Kristin O’Connor and I am one voice from a sea of students at North Kingstown High School. In Mr. Avedisian’s first period democracy class, we were asked to study the school budget and make very challenging decisions and cuts. We soon realized how difficult and how much pressure is involved in this process.

In our opinion, we feel that no cuts should be made and that the town should be looking for ways to preserve and enhance all programs in the school department. However, we realize that during difficult economic times we must do the unthinkable and begin dismantling our school system. Some of the most important things to a student’s education, besides their classes, are opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. We do not support any cuts to sports, activities and classes.

We are all aware that – come time to make cuts – sports, activities and classes will most likely be cut without another thought. We do not agree with that possible decision. Without these motivations, and ways to express ourselves, students at NK may venture to other schools in search of the programs they desire. Many students and athletes who maintain their grades will lose the inspiration that sports and activities provide.  Therefore, if the Town of North Kingstown does not properly fund the school system, there will be a sea of black and gold in total disbelief.

Our only goal is to try and get the town of NK to see that when you cut a sport, activity, or a class, you cut short the passion and dreams of many students at NK. Thank you for your time and we hope that the Town of North Kingstown will see that it is money well spent.

Sincerely,

Kristin O’Connor,

a representative from Mr. Avedisians 1st period democracy class

Brenton Bauerle April 03, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Dear Concerned Resident, My name is Brenton John Coleman Bauerle, Co-Editor-in-Chief of North Kingstown High School's newspaper, and one of the three student representatives to the North Kingstown School Committee. I am certifiably, one hundred percent, a real person and not a teacher "posing" as a student, as you have so demeaned the comments of these well-educated, well-informed youths, an action that is probably the result of your failure to believe that we students, even at our young age, have the capacity to make rational decisions and think for ourselves. In response to all your comments, sir or madam, I contend that the problem does not lie with teachers "using students as propaganda," an accusation which is ludicrous and insulting to the intelligence and individuality of our student body and equally insulting to the integrity and professionalism of our faculty, nor does the problem lie with teachers "not paying their fair share," which is a blatantly false accusation against a union that has not received a pay raise through several contract negotiations and now, as a result of Rhode Island pension reform, has to pay higher pension rates and wait longer to receive benefits. No, Mr. Concerned Resident, the problem does not lie with students like Kristen, or teachers like Mr. Avedisian; the problem lies with people like you, who feel that shouldering the financial burden of educating our youth is not worth the effort.
Dark star April 06, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Teachers receive a "step" raise every year, regardless of attendance or performance. Teachers also received a 1% increase on top of their step increases this year and will also receive the same next year. The previous 3 year contract contained "step" raises, ignoring performance, ans well as percentage increases. I know, I know, they now pay 20% co- pay on their health insurance. Yes they do..still less than the typical taxpayer that funds their salaries. So to Say the " teachers have not received a pay increase through several contract negotiations now" is not accurate. Time for better research.
Chuckles April 09, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Teachers, even with the step raises have not been making the same amount of money they were several years ago. Since 2004 they have removed over 12 teachers. Sure, a lot of the money (Which is less than half of the funding received) goes to pay our teachers, but we need to pay for educators, who EDUCATE the children. We are also the 13th lowest district of all 36 in lowest in pupil spending by over $2,000 of the state. Voters of NK have been constantly cutting over the past four years. We cannot keep cutting.
Brenton Bauerle April 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM
As far as I recall, @Tired of NK Antics, the "step" system is present in every school district in the state, and is a staple of education across the country. What kind of job does not have a salary that increases with longevity? From plumber to bus driver to attorney to teacher, a record of employment with a single employer usually entails an annual or even half-annual raise. Your arguments against the step system not only are counter intuitive, but also contradicts the idea of cutting older teachers jobs, a move I feel that you probably support based on your arguments, because doing so is actually taking advantage of the "step" system by replacing a high step teacher at 60,000 dollars with a first step teacher who makes roughly 30,000 dollars. Making statements simply to contradict other peoples points is not getting any point across besides the one that shows that YOU need to do more research, sir or madam.
WEARENK May 07, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Hello. I fully support Kristen, Brenton, Michael, and any other loyal, articulate, and truly concerned young adults who have voiced their opinions on this forum. I now step up to join their ranks. I am a sophomore at NKHS. I am not a member of a union...my age makes that impossible. The idea that I am a "union rat" or a "teacher's pawn" is, in layman's terms, plain silly. Please, consider yourself before you fire off thoughts, "concerned" resident- your circular arguments, irrational thoughts, and never-ending accusations make you look downright asinine. As a student, and a prospective Liberal Arts major, I am disappointed in some of the talk that has occurred here. Please, residents, take a step back for a second. Remember, if you can, your high school careers, and what made you feel that it was a worthwhile experience. Remember the items on your resumes which helped you achieve your current positions. Now consider how drastically impacted your future would have been if you had not had these items. Plain and simple, without any numbers, figures, or PDF files, I would just like to say the following. We students look forward to becoming educated and functioning adults in this community. Pretty soon we will be running this show. A bunch of robots with only bare-bones educations will not help keep this sinking rowboat afloat. 2% milk is not the healthiest kind for growing children... Cheers, A Skipper

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