For the past couple of years at around this same time of the school year, we have had the difficult challenge of creating a school program that operates on less funding than we had the year before. This year is no different. Again, we are faced with some significant challenges in funding that will have a pretty significant impact on our school and how we will look next year.
There are a couple of primary reasons why we are faced with another year of budget cuts. First, we are getting smaller as a school. When I came to MTHS 6 years ago, our school population was around 1750 students. This coming school year, we will have about 1300 students. We receive funding from the state based on our enrollment. So you can see that as we get smaller, our funding will decrease due to having fewer students in our school. If all we were dealing with was declining enrollment, we’d be fine for next school year. Unfortunately, we have some additional challenges that have affected our funding for next year. The second reason for the budget cuts we have to make is that we are receiving less money as a school district due to the cuts to the state budget for education. he total amount of funding we have received from the state has been reduced and this only adds to the cuts we are forced to make for next year.
So what will look different next year? For one, we’ll have fewer teachers next year. Partly due to our decline in student enrollment and partly due to the cuts from the state, we expect to lose the equivalent of 3.5 teachers next school year. We’ll have larger classes next year. Right now we expect that we’ll have many classes at 30 students and some classes may get as large as 35 students. We’ll have fewer Advanced Placement and other elective offerings in Art. We have been forced to cancel classes that had 20 or fewer student requests. The AP classes that remain will be much larger than they have been in previous years. Pay to play fees for sports will probably increase. Right now, students pay $100 per sport to participate in our athletic programs. While there has not been a final decision about this for the coming year, the fee will likely be increased so that we do not have to cut athletic programs. There will likely be other cuts that we’ll experience next year, but these are the ones that will have the most significant impact on our school.
So, with all this hard news, there is one thing that remains the same—MTHS will continue to be a great school with excellent students and a committed, caring staff that will work very hard to make sure that all of our students are successful in school and in whatever they choose to do beyond high school. We managed to get through this year after cutting nearly $11 million dollars from our budget last year. We’ll do it again next year, too.