Monday, December 26, 2005

Band, sports ready to return

The article below appeared in the Sunday, December 25th edition of the Northwest Herald. Harvard had asked for 7 referenda in a row that all failed. A referendum never passed and the school board managed to balance the budget. Bravo to the Harvard school board. But one must ask oneself did they really need the money in the past and what was the money going to be used for at that time.

Band, sports ready to return as board reinstates programs

[published on Sun, Dec 25, 2005]

HARVARD – Linda Russ was pleased to hear recently that some of the items cut by District 50 were approved by the school board to be reinstated.

But the mother of two fourth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School found herself asking why the cuts ever were made.

"I have to wonder how they can afford to bring them back now," she said. "The cuts never should have been made. Some of the teachers that they've let go should have never been let go."

The school board announced last month that it would look into bringing back its most recent cuts, which included junior high jazz band, freshman sports at Harvard High School, and the high school scholastic bowl.

The school board has approved a list of recommended items to reinstate. In addition to the above programs, these include a junior high reading specialist, art consultants, a high school math teacher, and an elementary librarian.

Bringing back those programs and staff would cost the district about $195,000, District 50 spokesman Bill Clow said.

District officials this fall began meeting with groups such as the Harvard High School Booster Club and HARMONY, a nonprofit group formed two years ago to promote music and stage-performance activities.

"They were wanting to at least have the board consider this," said Superintendent Randy Gross, who recommended the list to the board, whose members approved it Monday.

"This is a good example that the board is listening to the community and doing what it can within the financial constraints for the district," he said.

District officials have pointed to a balanced budget as the reason these programs could return. The district in September touted a $19.75 million budget showing that education-fund revenues would exceed spending by about $200,000.

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