Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
I have heard from people who believe that extracurricular activities and elective courses such as athletics, drama, science research, computer graphics, music, and the like can be cut from the school budget, because parents can simply pay to send their kids to commercial programs in the area. So I did a little investigating and came up with some interesting facts and figures.
• Music lessons at a local establishment run approximately $60/45 minute lesson for 40 weeks. Which is, more or less, what are kids are getting in school. That totals $2,400.
• Travel soccer and travel lacrosse clubs at two Nassau County based programs run $1,000+ and $1,200+ respectively for the year.
• Art classes at a local facility are $1,100 for 32 weeks.
• A five day computer programming class at Adelphi University for high school age students runs $1,000. I reiterate: five day.
• Acting/repertory classes are $900 for 8 weeks. Our kids are getting these opportunities for closer to 40 weeks so if you run the numbers that totals approximately $4,500 for the school year.
Remember, the increase in taxes for the proposed budget that was defeated on May 21 on a home assessed at $1,500,000 was $1,000. And that covers everything: Academics and instruction, busing, operation of plant, facility maintenance, supervision, curriculum development, special-education programs and services, technology, and so much more, including co-curricular activities.
So why would you vote down the budget and then turn around and pay the same amount—or possibly double or even triple what your increased tax bill would have been if we approved the school budget on May 21—for just one activity? That is not common sense.
I think we all need to think long and hard about what our out-of-pocket cost may actually be if we vote the budget down and lose the programs that have been outlined in the worst case scenario. Replacing them with outside options may be significantly more costly.
If these extracurricular activities that complement the academic foundation go, so go many of the amazing connections between classmates and their link to the schools.
We can’t turn back time, but we can support the budget on June 18. Take the common sense path. Vote “yes,” so we are not forced to dig deeper into our pockets to give our kids these critically important extracurriculars.