Budget ignorance isn’t bliss

Tania Martin, Staff Writer

Doing research on the school’s current budget, I recently came across a community forum on the Brevard Schools website where people may post their thoughts and suggestions about the cuts. I came upon a post labeled “Transportation to Choice/ Magnet Schools,” and many followers slammed the current board members, saying that they “don’t seem to care about our children.” They post ugly comments about how the board members should charge the students for busing instead of eliminating it completely. Again, cutting music programs because of a lack of money has led some people to say Superintendent Brian Bingelli has “ruined the school district in the last six years” and has turned the “Brevard County Schools into dirt.”

It’s not that the board members “don’t care” about the children. It’s that there is absolutely no money.

The board cannot charge students to ride the bus. It’s illegal. What its members are trying to do work with the state legislature to amend the law so that busing is not cut completely. The district simply can’t pay the $1.3 million dollars that it costs to fund choice-school transportation. If it doesn’t cut spending, the district would be in a hole.

I know it’s a difficult thing to perceive that West Shore may not have busing next year. It’s awful. My sister will be attending West Shore next year as a seventh-grader and will have a difficult time coming to school every day once I leave for college. I feel for the students and families that may be affected by the four proposed school closings. The fact that there may be a fee on solely the registration of choice schools may limit the possibilities of children coming to choice schools. It will look like these schools are superior to other public schools. For awhile I even started to resent the choices of the board, simply because I believed it might be corrupted.

However, in my government class last year, one of the first things I learned was that the choices about spending are in the hands of the taxpayers. The proposed half-cent tax that was supposed to supply the schools with approximately $32 million dollars. People should have accepted the fact that there were going to be massive cuts made.

I think it’s time to open our eyes to the conflicts around us. Our ignorance is misleading. If we start paying attention to the news around us, many benefits would override the cons.