More Foreign Language Programs Threatened

Now a high school in Wisconsin may be forced (owing to budget cuts) to eliminate its German and French programs!  If you feel strongly about maintaining the programs, you need to use the University of Albany’s example of fighting back.  Good luck!

Story from dhsknightlynews.com, November 21, 2010:

Potential Cuts to Foreign Language Classes at Homestead High School Has Parents and Students Up In Arms

The Mequon-Thiensville School Board recently decided that because of budget cuts, Homestead High School may have to cancel French and German programs or freeze teachers’ salaries for the next two years.  Says Mrs. Ann Braaten, a Homestead High School student’s parent, “Over the next three years, on a minimum we’re going to be $3 million short… We have to figure out how to make up that $3 million over the three years.”

Even though the school board is more inclined to freeze teachers’ salaries over the next two years, they are not ruling out the possibility of cutting French and German classes from Homestead’s curriculum.  Students and parents at Homestead spoke out against this option at a meeting earlier this month.  “(If the programs had to be cut,) parents and students would be very disappointed,” explains Braaten, who herself has attended one of the many recent budget meetings.

In the midst of the budget crisis at Homestead, Mequon-Thiensville is spending $5 million on road reconstruction in Thiensville.  “This makes me ask,” states Braaten, “‘What’s more important: our children’s education or having a nice look to our town?’  To me, the education comes first.”

School funding is not a new issue at Homestead High School.  They have known about it for ten years but tried to delay the inevitable.  In 2009, Governor Jim Doyle announced that public schools would be cut 2.5%, due to a $1.6 billion drop in tax collections.  Since then, public school budgets across the state have decreased dramatically.  Many have had to give up home economics, choirs, sports teams, and numerous art programs.

Not only would potential cuts to the school’s French and German classes affect students and teachers, but everyone living in the Mequon-Thiensville area.  Braaten sums it up when she states, “If we don’t keep our schools strong, everybody in Mequon, 100% of the people will lose on property values… So, in a round-about way, this situation affects everybody.”

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