I’m not sure how you come up with “elitist” when referring to the school board members who voted for “pay to play.” They were only trying to spread the pain of paying for education to other parts of the population than just the teachers, who have been shouldering that burden for far too long. Perhaps if you read a little deeper, you would have found out that there is nothing “elite” about the plan, since those on free and reduced lunch get a free ride.
More disturbing in this mess is the school board member who has on a number of occasions, as part of her opposition to the plan, said the only reason some students come to school is to play sports. That may be true, but for someone who is supposed to be leading the school system to promote that as a reason for school to exist, for there to be no cost to play a sport, because that is the only reason to come to school, is awful. That’s a real morale builder for teachers right there — “the football coach is more important than you are.” I hope Jamie Bond gets called on that at the June 21 meeting.
There has been nothing morale building for ANYONE in any of this process. Schools are communities that need to teach more than lessons from books. Academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities are ALL a very important part of a school community, and it’s a vital necessity to keep our community intact in hope that students grow up to be well-rounded members of society, not just fact regurgitators. In today’s schools, motivation is one of the biggest challenges in getting students involved in learning, and if athletics or academic team or drama is their motivation, then we’ve got to fight to preserve that! If a student has no motivation or encouragement to participate in learning, they won’t, and any form of success will be much less likely to occur. Believe it or not, students will not be successful in school just because you tell them that academics are most important. They need incentives that are tangible.
I’m becoming completely disheartened with this growing battle of academics vs. athletics and the constant battle of strand against strand. Bottom line is the county has CHOSEN to live outside of their means, and while the reasons may be very valid, there is still not enough money in sight, no matter what we hoped the state would provide.
Pay-to-Play is waaaay too expensive at $100 per VHSL activity (includes academic, debate, speech,and drama teams) and will cause smaller teams and multi-activity students much heartache. The county is paying tuition to the Governors School for a handful of students that are too smart to be MCPS students, or that’s how it feels…very morale building to teachers. Is it supposed to be ok for a large number of students paying VHSL fees to fund a few students Governors School tuition?! So many families do not qualify for free or reduced lunch but still live paycheck to paycheck, and will have difficulty affording a high fee for multiple sports for multiple kids many times a year. Not to mention that these are the same students that are fundraising to pay their own costs of their activities. None of these activities are free and MCPS pays less than you think towards travel, uniforms, training camps, etc. In addition, these are the kids showing up to school everyday, keeping their grades up, and working out HARD for fitness so they are allowed to practice or play. Now, we’re going to reward their hard work by slapping them with an expensive fee?!
Instead of the unending fighting, name calling, and stereo-typing attitudes, there needs to be some valid solutions: charge all secondary students an activities fee of $5-$10, or charge governors school students tuition, or lower the pay-to-play costs to a manageable $25 and stop publishing a fancy newsletter with information from the MCPS website….tell people to read the website, or lower salaries of the administration and school board, or consolidate schools with lower utilizations instead of threatening to do it next year, or charge students that misbehave continuously and severely punishment fees, or raise rental fees for the school buildings, or maybe some of the wealthier folks in the community can offset the deficit with donations ahead of time instead of trying to constantly fundraise monies from tapped out citizens that are already paying higher taxes. Why not be more creative instead of trying to continually punish those that are trying to do the right things, including teachers, coaches, and our VHSL active kids!
The pay-to-play is now a terrible idea as the athletic directors are gone, and fee collecting will fall on administrators or assistants that are already overloaded with too many other duties. With so many changes in leadership going on, so many unanswered questions, and students watching all of this play out on the news, it’s time to get creative, and figure out how to work as a team instead of everyone vs. everyone else…maybe a lesson we can learn from our VHSL participants.
Well, they could have just fired the two principals instead of putting them in made-up jobs in the central office at their same high salaries. The same central office where they are supposed to be cutting one-and-a-half positions as part of the whole budget reduction process.
Also on that list from the superintendent was the closing of Shawsville Middle School at a savings of over $300,000. That would also increase the use of under-capacity Eastern Montgomery Elementary School and under-capacity EastMont High School. But the school board sloughed right over that line any time it was looking at the cuts to make. The Roanoke Times has chosen not to ask anyone why SMS is sacred ground, even though there are people who know the answer. That cut would have saved teaching positions and avoided the whole “pay to play” issue from the beginning.
Way to mischaracterize there Joe Hokie. I disagree with a lot of things the school board members have said and done. However, I understand what Jamie Bond was saying, and I believe you do to. I don’t think she meant that should be the only reason some come to school, but using a little common sense and recognition of reality, something that is far too lacking in politics today, it is easy to see that what she is acknowledgeing is that some kids are not motivated by the intrinsic value of learning, but they are motivated by sports, and if playing sports motivates them to come to school and try hard enough in class to remain academically eligible, then the sports program is serving a very valuable purpose.
People love to malign althletic programs as operating at diametrically opposed purposes with academics, but this argument is typically not made in good faith. Athletics contribute a great deal to the development of student athletes.
The point is, Chuck, that Jamie Bond was willing to throw teachers and the Governor’s School (not that I agree with all the funds for that small program) under the bus to protect school sports and those parents. Teachers haven’t had a pay raise in years, have been paying out of pocket for supplies for years because the school system doesn’t buy enough paper and glue for the classrooms, and parents have been spending quite a bit for longer supply lists every fall for academics. But the school system pays out a handsome subsidy every year to keep the sports program going and asks nothing in return directly from the parents who have children who benefit from that program. Go ask a band parent or a parent of someone in the debate program what they have to pay because of the lack of support for their programs. Yeah, parents can voluntarily pay into the boosters, but that isn’t required. Parents can also opt not to buy all the notebooks that are needed, because a teacher will pick up the slack and find one. But if a kid makes the football team, you can be sure he will hit the field in a full uniform and that field will have the grass mown and the all the lights will be on come Friday night.
Of course, the roots of all this started years ago, under some past superintendents and high administrators who chose to ignore reports about the poor state of Blacksburg High School, which was crumbling 10 years (or more) ago. If the building was replaced when it should have been, instead of after it was a crisis and truly uninhabitable (and the school board told the Riner whiners they would have to wait a year or two more), we wouldn’t be in quite the budget crisis we’re in now.
I couldn’t agree more, Joe. Schools are now supposed to educate students on financial responsibilities according to a state mandate, but MCPS has made some terrible mismanagement decisions. There should have never been so many construction projects at one time….and now we’re so over our heads that we can’t handle challenges being dealt our way in this economy….terrible way to handle finances. I think my biggest issue is just that $100 is ALOT of money for a family, and the school covers waaay less for the athletics teams than you think….the booster clubs, run by their parents who will now be paying fees for their kids to play, fundraise and cover uniform costs….not the school system. Boosters also help band students, which are not considered a VHSL activity. The academic teams will suffer the most, as they have a smaller program without boosters. It’s a sad day that our kids are LITERALLY paying the price to cover overspending by the school board.
Comment by I'm a Hokie too — June 20, 2012 @ 8:55 am
Ok Ok, the board “Found” the funds to pay for everything. Move on. Later this year you will again be asked to pay additional real estate taxes. Perhaps if the rate goes to $1.00 the folk in Blacksburg will shut the hell up!