Not as bad as it may sound
reports on the impending elimination of a number of extracurricular programs in the public school, specifically five "demographic" clubs that take up issues of interest to minority groups and their student supporters. Given the presumed leanings of the author, Howard Prosnitz, the article is likely part of an effort to highlight the practical consequences of the school budget defeat and induce feelings of regret for those who supported the Council's subsequent reduction of the budget total. However, the article is just as likely to provide encouragement for those who feel the district should be able to do more with less.
Truthfully, it is not the clubs themselves that face elimination, but the stipends to their faculty advisors that must be cut due to funding constraints. According to Assistant Superintendent Barbara Pinsak, in the school just completed, $326,000 was allocated to pay faculty advisors for student clubs. In the coming year, stipends for advisors to 42 of the high school’s 51 clubs and 20 of the middle schools’ 55 clubs have been eliminated.
The Suburbanite article goes on to detail the role of the one of the clubs affected by the spending cuts, Spectrum Club, making the case that the Teaneck High School community will be worse off next year without it. But is Teaneck High School losing the Spectrum Club, or is faculty advisor Amy Moran simply losing her stipend? The answer is the latter. As Councilwoman Barbara Ley Toffler notes at the end of the article, a volunteer advisor could be brought in from the outside to keep the club going at no cost to taxpayers. Presumably, the Spectrum Club would be permitted to continue to publicize events on school grounds and to use classroom space for its meetings.
Cries to the contrary notwithstanding, this is not a case of Teaneck balancing its school budget on the backs of the students. The reduction in stipends for faculty advisors is another instance of (involuntary) shared sacrifice by teachers that need not detract from the educational experience. There is, no doubt, more to come.