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Editorial: Cuts to district’s budget are needed

This much is clear to us after last week’s meeting regarding the cuts proposed by the school district: something must be done, and something must be done now.

Debates ought to focus now on what should be cut.

They ought not focus on whether cuts need to be made.

It is great news that the district was able to save money to the tune of $12 million. That savings account, though, should not mean that the district kicks the can down the road, then reacts with devastating cuts in three years. Now is the time to make substantial cuts to balance the budget, or get as close as possible.

Growing revenue does not appear to be something that the district can do in the near future. The only ways that can be accomplished is to grow enrollment, get increased funding from the state or go back to the taxpayers of the district and ask them for more money.

Enrollment isn’t growing. Rather, it is declining.

The state could add some money to the school’s coffers this year, but it won’t be enough to make a significant difference.

Lastly, taxpayers didn’t exactly pass last year’s $4.2 million levy renewal by a wide margin. It was about 56 percent to 44 percent. Had the district asked for more money instead of just a renewal, who knows if it would have passed? If it hadn’t, we’d be talking about some massive cuts right now.

If growing revenue isn’t possible (and we don’t think it is), cuts have to be made to address the decline in enrollment.

On the specific cuts, it’s clear the middle school is taking a big blow. Losing foreign language instruction at the middle school level is a big blow. As one resident pointed out, we live in a global world and second languages are the norm.

Let’s focus the debate on matters like this — the cuts themselves — and not on whether or not they need to be made in the first place.