I am a middle school principal with 38 years in public education. My school is in a large district   that serves 63,000 students. We have lost millions of dollars from our budgets, with the expectation of losing millions more. So far at our middle school, we have lost 10 teachers, one school resource officer, four teacher assistants, two custodians, one secretary, and one cafeteria worker, with more cuts to follow. All administrators have taken a pay cut and more pay cuts will be scheduled next year. Our student-to-teacher ratio has increased, as have offerings to students.
Our sub budget and supply budgets have been cut in half (we can’t even have mini fridges anymore). Teachers are reluctant to miss days due to colleagues having to fill in for them. All sports programs have been cut. All district programs such as the science fair  and band/chorus concerts have been cut. There is no more textbook money and no more staff development, unless it is online or after school. The budget cuts have also affected our ability to conduct field trips. 
We don’t take checks from parents anymore because we have lost $1,000 due to bad checks. Parents don’t pay for lost or damaged textbooks due to their financial situations. We have had to be more energy conservative; we can’t stay late since all computers are turned off by 9 p.m., and we can’t come in on weekends to work.
I have just described what is going our school this year—next year it should be worse. Legislators have said there is plenty of money, but that we just don’t use it correctly. Our state is in a $2 billion deficit and education and social services will share most of the loss.
Right now our state and district are in a tremendous financial crunch, I’d like to know how other schools and districts are faring.  Leslie Potter is principal of Silver Sands Middle School in Port Orange, Florida

re: Financial Crunch

Leslie,

Our district will be $2 million in the red next year. Several years ago we cut counselors, Spanish (foreign language), 1/2 of art, 1/2 of music, library aides and secretaries. Over the years, we have added back some of those positions and our Board has strengthened our fund balance to get us through this year. But, we cannot go through many more like this or we'll be back to cutting. It's turning into a state and federal issue.

re: Financial Crunch

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re: Financial Crunch

Greetings Leslie!

We are in a similar situation in Michigan. I am a principal of an elementary school and we must cut about 1 million dollars this year. In Michigan we have been in financial disarray for almost seven years now and we have had to make cuts each year. The cuts you describe are quite similar to those we have made. The constant cutting is rather depressing, actually, and it seems as though there is no end in sight. As you might know, Michigan has been in a very long recession and the current economic troubles in the country have compounded our state troubles. Something needs to happen to support our schools better financially or we are all going to have trouble meeting the demands of NCLB. Good luck to you and your school!

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