Even Aspen schools face budget cuts
ASPEN – Aspen isn’t just about money – just ask the high school.Budget cuts at Aspen High School for the next school year are threatening several of the school’s departments and the future of the high school newspaper.The Skier Sentinel publishes four times a year in The Aspen Times and has a staff of about 12 students. Aspen High School was asked earlier this year by the school district to make $200,000 worth of budget cuts for the 2005-2006 school year. Principal Kendall Evans said that will be the equivalent of cutting two and a half positions from the teaching staff.”Any time we cut positions, it affects our programs and things we don’t want to lose, but we have to,” Evans said. “In journalism we have our yearbook and newspaper, and we’re trying to figure out if we can continue to have both of those.”The district is in the second year of a three-year plan to eliminate a nearly $1 million deficit. After slashing $400,000 this year, the district needs to cut another $400,000 in expenses next year. An additional $140,000 in cuts will be needed in the 2006-2007 school year.Other high school departments that will see a staff reduction include foreign language, science and the reading program, Evans said. No teachers are being fired – those who are retiring or leaving the district for other reasons are not being replaced.Their classes will be made up by being absorbed by existing teachers, Evans said, meaning a heavier workload for teachers. Nancy Haddad, who helps with the school’s yearbook staff, is retiring after this year, and right now the school plans to replace her full-time position with someone working part-time.”That’s what puts us into a bind,” said Dave Conarroe, the adviser for the Skier Sentinel. “When cuts are made, it’s going to have consequences. It’s not like they can just make everyone pick it up, because it’s not as easy as that.”Conarroe and Haddad handle 12 classes per day, including newspaper and yearbook, and when Haddad leaves and is replaced with a part-timer, that will leave three classes without a teacher.Junior Fred Bernard, 17, is assistant editor of the Skier Sentinel. He said he has plans to work in journalism in the future, and while he would miss newspaper class if it was discontinued, there are other classes where he’d get writing practice.”I think it’s as important as any other program we have, like school government, student senate and almost all the other clubs,” he said. “If you kill it off the school would go back to normal, but having a school newspaper is a tradition – it’s a part of school everywhere. You’d lose an educational, fun class if it got cut off.”
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