This time, instead of adults on a school board, a team of high school students plan an imaginary school budget, considering teachers salaries, activities, and college prep classes.
The team, from the Schenectady area, found out that not every budget decision is popular, and choices must be justified.
“We have the funds; we have the revenue to spend actual money,” said Quinn Jones, a Fort Plain High School junior participating in the school budget activity.
After cutting school support staff, the receptionists, hall monitors and other staff workers, peers questioned their adding sports teams while making cuts.
“Would you rather your kids have those opportunities to take AP classes?” Quinn said, defending the decision. “It wasn’t necessarily something we wanted to do.”
The team also pulled back full day kindergarten classes, stating that parents could choose between full and half day programs.
This is Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s sixth annual student cabinet, hosted by Clarkson University. Students from 10 districts developed budgets that are usually developed by school boards.
Another group took on a different scenario, facing a large deficit resulting from a catastrophic storm causing millions of dollars in damage.
“We are $2 million in debt, and we have to get out of it, so we have to make a lot of cuts,” Schenectady senior Joseph Peat said. The group cut teacher bonuses, athletic teams and music classes. They also raised taxes slightly and used the small reserve fund.
“We figured this was a rainy day,” said Madeline Elliott, a Canajoharie senior. “Literally.”