Scottsdale parents weigh in on possible arts, P.E. cuts

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE -- Music, art and P.E. may be on the chopping block at Scottsdale elementary schools. The district is facing a nearly $4 million budget shortfall. So those classes, known as "specials," would be the first thing to go.

Under the new proposal, students would attend art, music and P.E. every other day instead of daily at elementary schools.

"I think every other day will be good," said dad Sonny Fisher.

But not everyone agrees with Fisher. "I think they're necessary," said mom Veronica Hawkins. Hawkins said she hopes that part of the proposal doesn't go through. "They need to figure out a way to make it work,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said she wouldn't mind seeing cuts from administrative staff. "Some of them, some people aren't paid enough, and some people are paid too much," said Hawkins.

According to the proposal, there will be some cuts there a reduction in administrative staff and support, saving about $700k. But the plan also calls for a reduction in art, music and PE teachers.

According to the proposal, cutting the classes and eliminating 30 teachers would save $1.5 million.

"I think it's a shame. I think Arizona is going downhill really fast," said Theresa Steeger, a former teacher. "They need to do something other than common core for four hours every day. If the kids would go outside for an hour and do arts, that would be awesome if they could do that every day.”

You can follow this link to see the latest budget update.

This is the district’s statement:

“Scottsdale Unified School District, like other school districts across Arizona, has been affected by both reductions in funding from the state legislature and the loss of the maintenance and operations override, which supports programs in our schools.

Last year, we reduced more than $1 million in administrative costs from our budget to minimize the impact to our classrooms. However, with no way to balance the loss of funds, SUSD increased class size by two students.

Recently, SUSD Leadership has given the Governing Board a proposal on budget reductions for the 2014-2015 school year. At the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, April 8th, the Governing Board will receive a budget update from Chief Financial Officer, Daniel O’Brien; however, no action will be taken.

Keep in mind, the SUSD budget won’t be approved and finalized until the Governing Board meeting in June. SUSD, as well as other school districts across the State, is still waiting for the Governor and the State Legislators to approve the State Budget for educational funding.

A balanced budget has been placed before the Governing Board as for information, which includes a variety of cost-saving measures and reductions. Because we do not recommend any increases in class size, the proposed reductions do include reduction of elementary specials (art, PE, music) by one half. Other reductions include an additional $700,000 in administrative and administrative support positions, staffing efficiencies, savings from using phased retirement for employees and minimizing insurance costs.”