It is the summer before my junior year. I walk up the steps next to Millennium on my way to the library to retrieve my schedule. I have been looking forward to this moment all summer, as I will find out what I will be learning this year. I had listed Biotechnology and Honors Physics as my top two options, with psychology as my alternative. I was looking forward to escaping the required classes and taking classes I was interested in. However, I ended up with a schedule of only Honors Physics and had to take my second alternative elective.
Therefore, I am confused as to why we are spending money on classrooms rather than prioritizing class selection and class sizes, which is a persistent problem.
According to superintendent Randall Booker, the measure will raise 66 million dollars to create new classrooms, build a new theatre and to erect a fence around campus.
While there is certainly room for improvement in classroom quality, especially in the science department, not once in my four years have I heard a single complaint about the quality of the classrooms, which Measure H1 seeks to remedy. Going even further, one of the best qualities of Piedmont High School has been the open campus feel, which a fence would absolutely destroy. And even worse, we cannot be sure this is where the money will be spent. The measure is essentially a carte blanche for the district, allowing spending on anything within the realm of creating or renovating buildings.
However, I fully support investing money in the school. Piedmont has had a growing issue with class sizes, as many people cannot have the schedules they want and, in some classes, must sit on couches or side tables to be in the class section they want.
Every year, there is an endless stack of class change request slips sitting outside the counselor’s offices, many of which are due to people not being able to take the classes they want because the sections are booked. And this is not just an issue for the students.
Teachers have complained as well, as unbalanced sections and overfilled classes have caused various logistical and educational issues. Teachers often have to teach classes above the class limit, forcing them to give less attention to individual students. On top of this, imbalanced sections of the same class cause issues as teachers like to give their classes the same curriculum.
We are hampered every year by limited sections of certain classes and overbooked classes, while classroom and facility quality has not been an issue. It only makes sense that we reallocate our funds towards addressing our biggest issues, not trying to cover them up with pretty classrooms.
We still have an opportunity to remedy this issue by taking regular district budgeted money that would have been spent on facilities and allocating that towards educational purposes. This would help the class sizes issue somewhat, but not as much as addressing the issue head on.
So while Piedmont has once again done a nice job raising money to support our education, as of now, it seems they have dropped the ball in terms of spending once again.