Many of the cuts have hit the already stretched support and discipline staffers. PCCY’s analysis found that Bartram lost two of its three assistant principals, three of its five counselors, all four of its supportive services assistants, all three of its community relations and social services liaisons, its sole librarian, nearly all its bilingual counseling assistants, its at risk student support, one of its two school nurses, one of its six school police officers and its entire cafeteria staff. But the move that puts students and staff most at risk might be the drop in noon time aides—the people who keep order in the school, in the cafeteria and in the halls between classes—from 64 man-hours a day down to 20. That’s five people, working just four hours each, responsible for more than 1,000 students.
The District has many schools with conditions it needs to improve. But year after year of underfunding from the state has left the District between Scylla and Charybdis; if it moves to avoid one problem it gets stuck with another. We cannot pit one school against another. Everyday, students and teachers file into understaffed schools. If we are serious about creating a safe environment and vibrant curriculum for our students and teachers, then school funding should be the number one priority for the state. Funding must be made available, balancing the budget by laying off support and discipline staff only leads to more problems. Hopefully the state realizes this before the next incident.