Unsigned: The Public School System is in Dire Need of More Funding

…we can’t expect to thrive as a country if schools are given the bare minimum”

According to the Tax Policy Center, “More than half of 2019’s discretionary spending went for national defense.” 7.1 percent of the budget was split between education, training, employment, and social services (taxpolicycenter.org). Because districts and schools are not given more money by the state and federal governments, school programs have to create booster organizations and raise ridiculous amounts of money.

On the cusp of a massive war and several crises occurring around the world, it’s unsurprising that a topic like education is once again set aside. However, the long-term consequences of our nation’s disregard for the needs of public schools is hindering the growth and accomplishments of today’s youth. And after-school activities are facing a handful of issues as a result. The miniscule distribution of our national budget towards government-funded schools has alarming consequences, making this an important issue to solve.

This lack of attention towards the state of schools nationwide is far from new. Chemistry Teacher Stephanie Conrad mentioned that she’s had to pay for copy paper, experiment supplies, and subscriptions like Kami and Weebly for her district curriculum lessons. Conrad affirmed that “…all teachers experience this.” Conrad added that, “…in the pandemic years my purchase needs shifted to new monitors, a webcam, and other electronics to support distance learning.” Though it has become more common for teachers to be subsequently reimbursed, the limited resources that cause these scenarios are proof enough that a budgetary hurdle is present.

UC High’s music program has won countless championships and prizes throughout the years. Most recently, UC’s Winter Percussion program won first place in their ADLA competition last month in Riverside, according to the circuit’s website. The road to these successes, however, was filled with obstacles that shouldn’t have been their responsibility to deal with. “We have to pay for instruments and transportation, which can cost a lot, ” said Sophomore Marching Bass Drummer Michael Bortfeld. These are unfair conditions for any school group to endure, particularly one as victorious as our music program (wgasc.org).

Softball is just one of the many sports at UC that face multiple obstacles. Junior Alissa Maquar said that, “A big issue softball is facing right now is that we do not have any lights. Since we now end school later, we have to miss multiple periods to play before it gets dark.” Athletic programs have had to do fundraisers to cover basic needs, which, though helpful, shouldn’t be required to keep them running.

If you are like most students, you’ve probably never gone to see any of our great school plays or even heard of auditions taking place. Heck, you might even be shocked to hear that UC High uses the auditorium for more than just having a substitute babysit a large amount of kids. Regardless, the theatre department has given it their all to bring the school quality entertainment. Senior Mel Stermon — who has taken part in the theatre department’s productions all four years of their high school career and is also the President of UC’s Theatre Club — said that, other than auditorium fixes (due to the space being shared by several groups), they can’t think of any other cost the school has been able to cover. After COVID resurges halted their “Clue” production, the theatre department has been left with major financial issues. “Since we rely mostly on ticket sales, we have barely any budget to put on another show this school year. It would be nice if we got some funding to help us out, but we’ve received none so far,” Stermon added.

Many may argue that these programs are doing just fine. They can simply continue raising money to keep their programs alive while our country continues overfunding the weapons and military industries. However, we can’t expect to thrive as a country if schools are given the bare minimum to get by. The programs mentioned above are just some of many examples of underfunding’s presence and its consequences around UC. Many institutions and their respective programs have managed to exceed expectations nevertheless, so just imagine how much farther they could go with more financial backing.

The noticeably small amount of support that public schools receive around the country harms classes and afterschool programs, and with that, students and staff alike. A more comprehensive budget would lead to better results and a stronger community around not only campuses, but each and every community.