‘Tis the season – yes, the holidays are behind us, but ‘tis the town and school budget season. While it will be months before final budgets are presented, they are being compiled now. As state funding waxes and wanes, budgets are critically affected. In these challenging economic times, it is important that we are not penny-wise and pound-foolish. We must continue to invest in our schools. Schools are a great value when funds are spent effectively. Strong schools create a better future for the next generation, while also raising and stabilizing property values for all.
Extracurricular programs are easy to ignore when money gets tight. However, a recent article in The Boston Globe explained that colleges now acknowledge: “Students who demonstrate success in extracurricular activities, which give them real-world skills like critical thinking, oral and written communication, and the ability to organize ideas and present them effectively, perform better in college.” Speech and debate programs are an especially efficient “bang for our buck,” as they address many of the common core standards and the skills outlined above. These programs can be attended by any student, in exchange for a modest level of cost and a minimal facility requirement. To be successful, the programs need a stipend to attract faculty leadership and a budget for their few costs. Such programs, supported long-term, are worth their weight in gold.
Please keep the value of programs in mind as budgets are presented. We should protect our investment.