Jan. 15 editorial: School cuts -- It's time to get creative

Jan. 15, 2011

The news is out: Hood River County School District is looking at numerous cuts, leading to job losses, classroom programs and sports reductions, and buildings being sold or "repurposed."

The $3.5 million solution will be difficult, but the community has the chance to weigh in at upcoming forums - details on page A1.

We look forward to a constructive engagement between our educators and the community.

Here are three modest proposals to help start the conversation:

• Art, music, and PE: For an example of how the community can play a role counteracting budget cuts to these areas, look no farther than the Art Week program featured on page A1.

• Teacher and classified cuts: The Education Association could work with its members to coordinate a volunteer program for retirees receiving payments in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS): participants would donate their time and expertise back to the schools. Yes, we mean asking teachers who retire at 55 to come back to the schools and donate a few months of their time.

• Athletics: How about some creative game scheduling? Since teams must travel, group the contests or competition days. Work with other schools to create jamboree-style events, particularly in pre-seasons.

Those are just three ideas. Many more are needed, and now is the time. The schools have never needed creative thinking more than they do now.

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