Our View: Back to school
It’s that time of year.
Stores are offering sales on backpacks and rulers, Palm Pilots and blue jeans. The halls are being swept and the desks polished.
School starts Monday throughout the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District.
At this time last year, the school district received a revenue windfall from the state of California, with an average 10 percent increase in per pupil spending.
This year, the slower economic climate and other factors mean that extra funds aren’t quite as large. Just over 3 1/2 percent increased per pupil funding revenue will be received by the TTUSD this year, and of that increase, much of it will go to increased fuel and energy costs. District superintendent Pat Gemma notes that the money that remains from the new revenue is enough to carry the district forward with its current program while maintaining adequate reserves, only if enrollment stabilizes and stops its recent decline.
Last year’s school enrollment was considerably below projections. Almost every school had less students than projected.
Too many young families and their children have been moving out of the Truckee-Tahoe area in the past few years. Although no firm data is available, it’s not hard to imagine that skyrocketing housing costs in Truckee are driving some young families away.
We won’t know for a while yet if that dropping enrollment trend will continue in the 2001-2002 school year. But if it does, it means that the district, the Town of Truckee and everyone else in town needs to look long and hard at what’s causing this.
Schools are the heartbeat of a community, and if our schools are losing kids it’s an indicator of a deeper problem with our town.
But for this week and the next, the main concerns of parents and kids in this school should be new books, new backpacks and getting ready to enjoy a productive and fun new school year.
And don’t worry, kids – winter break will be here before you know it.
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