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K-3+ and High School Schedule

It felt like a punch to the gut.

We were already enrolling students in a state-sponsored summer learning program when we found out just a few days ago that our funding was being cut nearly in half.

That means serving fewer students – about 2,000 fewer kindergarteners, first, second and third graders who won’t get extra help with reading and math this summer.

And that’s heartbreaking.

It’s more of the harsh reality we’ve been dealing with over the past year with cut after cut after cut to public education funding: $25 million in mid-year cuts to the APS budget alone, with millions more projected for next school year.

And now another $3.6 million cut to the summer program known as K-3+.

We’d love to cover the shortfall if we could, but as you know all too well, we just don’t have the money. The only way to do it would be to take from other programs. That’s been our problem all along. Like the old saying goes, we’d be robbing Peter – or in this case smaller classes at our most needy schools, reading intervention, the very popular Story Time in the Park and more –  to pay K-3+.

Another problem is timing. K-3+ is scheduled to start in just over a month. We need to let parents know as soon as possible whether there will be a program offered at their child’s school, so they can make summer plans. We need to let teachers know if they’re teaching. We need to make a decision.  

That’s the same quagmire we faced with the controversial high school schedule. As you can imagine, putting together a schedule for thousands of students taking seven classes each is complicated. There are so many moving parts. And the last thing we want is for students to start the school year without a schedule. Can you imagine what a nightmare that would be! Teachers also need to know what classes they’ll be teaching next school year to prepare for learning to start on day one.  

With only 14 days left in the school year, we want to avoid making drastic changes. We understand the need for continuity and consistency, and every day without a decision creates anxiety and worry among our students and staff. We needed to make a decision, so we told our high school curriculum assistants to go ahead and plan for next year using the same schedule as this year.  

We’re still waiting on a budget from Santa Fe. We’re cautiously optimistic that cuts to public education won’t be as severe as we have prepared for. But we’re also realistic. We have to be financially prudent with taxpayer dollars as we focus on making sure our students are afforded the best education possible.

And so, we continue. The work is hard, but the cause is noble, and we’re in it together.


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