|Publication Date: Friday, May 02, 2003
Budget cuts take a
back-seat to school work
Student apathetic, helpless, uninformed about reductions
by Rachel Metz
was one of 1,000 students who swarmed Sacramento in February
protesting cuts to basic-aid school districts. Waving
signs proclaiming "Education 1st, Not Prisons" and evoking memories
of the '60s anti-war movement, Hoffman and her peers meant to make
But now that the picket signs have been packed away, the Gunn
High School sophomore has found that concerns about the school
budget crisis have taken a back seat to exams and end-of-the-year
"At the rally there were a lot of juniors there, but not a lot
of people at Gunn went compared to other schools," Hoffman said. "Maybe
after the pressure of the AP's and Star Testing is out of the way,
then maybe somehow we can get a rally together and it can all come
Lakshmi Eassey, a Palo Alto High School student, said the lack
of ongoing budget information contributed to the drop in interest.
Many students formed communication networks at the February rally,
Eassey said, but since then a small percentage of students have
actually worked on the budget issue.
"I think that a lot of awareness was promoted during the protests
earlier in February, but I think a lot of students don't really
feel the affect that the budget cuts could have or will have and
so they just ... I don't think they know enough about it and since
they don't know enough about it they're almost apathetic about
it," said Eassey, who is also Paly's student body president.
Gunn junior Priscilla Mendoza said there is more campus talk on
the war in Iraq and the SARS virus.
"I probably would be more involved if I knew more about it and
if I knew more about the opportunities that are out there for us," said
Jimmy Meuel, a Paly junior, said a lot of students are unsure
about how budget cuts will actually affect the school.
"It's just one of those things where until it would be set in,
until the budget would be cut and we start feeling the affects
of that, people might be taking stuff for granted," Meuel said.
At Gunn and Paly, student body presidents Freddy Flaxman and Eassey
are working to keep students informed about the latest budget news.
Gunn has distributed fliers on the topic around campus, while Paly's
student council representatives report to their fourth-period classes
with budget information.
Eassey wrote a few letters to local government officials to protest
upcoming cuts, but said students don't think there is much they
can do. She plans to encourage students to attend school board
meetings and keep themselves informed about the crisis.
"I don't know if anything will help beyond what's already being
done," Eassey said.
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