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Friday, March 14, 2008 | The story of cuts at Marie Curie Elementary is a heart string story, but I find it interesting when I look at the school I work at.
I’m in a very small parochial school. We have one class per grade. Our teachers, including our most experienced, are paid less than those in the public sector. These teachers don’t have a union and only have a year-to-year contract. They work hard and longer than the school day. Our parent board raises $100,000 a year to fund our art program, as well as part of the operating budget.
I am the school librarian. I have a budget of $100.00. I raised it myself. I didn’t have the option of “switching out” science books when Pluto was demoted as a planet. I depend solely on donations.
Our students are all well behaved. We have a zero-tolerance policy on behavior and no second chances. We also wear uniforms, which add to our learning environment, not detract from it.
We don’t have a nurse — never have. We have a school secretary who is a retired Sister. She is also our nurse. She can also pinch hit in many other capacities.
I have a well-dressed, well behaved, morally balanced child who is learning, doing well on all her studies and knows the importance of stewardship. All for the same amount of money that I have to pay in property taxes to support a public school system that doesn’t work well.
So … I have a hard time gathering sympathy for the current budget issues. We need vouchers, we need to eliminate any type of labor unions and go to an “at-will” type of employment contract and run schools like businesses. If we did, this would not be such an issue.