I returned to Minnesota just in time for the April 21 issue of the Bemidji Pioneer. The headline read: "District staff cuts made." Today, May 6, the paper has another article, front page, on those cuts. It is good that the decision to make the cuts does not come easily. This is serious business because it affects lives at either end of the spectrum-from jobs for employees to the children.
I am concerned about the children first, because that is the only reason that we have a Bemidji School District. This system serves children from early childhood through grade 12. We are truly blessed that we are a nation that values public education. It ensures us that all children are provided an avenue that can/may lead them to reach their full potential in life.
It is difficult for me to understand why cutbacks cannot come from some other areas. I do not understand all of the ins and outs of running a school district, but I can't help wondering if every area of spending has been fully explored. Children are essential to a school and will show up on Day One. Teachers are essential to the delivery of knowledge and will arrive dedicated to the children. These teachers will even dip into their own bank accounts to purchase supplies for their classrooms when they see a need. Teachers are trained to teach and many of them love and nurture their students as they love and nurture their own children.
I think that the district could find other ways to cut costs. Maybe we could use our curriculum materials over a longer span of time. Maybe we could purchase less expensive cleaning supplies. Maybe we could forgo teacher in-service days and speakers. The teachers could use this time for professional development at no cost to the district. I hope we do not rush to make these serious decisions.
Mary C. Wieland