1 November 2018
By: Jordan Reichhardt
Education is the structure of a community and what drives individuals to a successful future, but when students are not given the tools they need to thrive, their potential is dampened.
The lack of money in the Thompson School District of Loveland Colorado affects everything in the schools from what supplies students use in the classroom to how motivated teachers and staff are.
For me, inadequate funding in schools means minimal supplies in classrooms which is more prominent in some departments than others, but one area that really suffers is the art department. Most visual arts classes, whether it’s ceramics, drawing, or painting, rely on materials, and when materials are limited so are the amount of students allowed to take the class. This makes it hard for some students to pursue their passions. Shannon Tyler a sophomore at Loveland High School explained her experience saying, “ In math classes and world language classes we don’t have enough books for every student or even up to date books. Teachers use their own money to accommodate for what the district can’t provide.” Oftentimes, another way teachers will combat the issue of limited supplies is by having the students buy it themselves. This is not an issue for most students, but students in a tight economic situation may be left with whatever the teacher can find sitting around the classroom, putting them at a disadvantage.
A low budget for maintenance in the district means that much necessary maintenance is procrastinated for prolonged periods of time. As a student at Loveland High School I realize that an older building means that things will not always be in great shape, however I was still surprised when I walked into my English class and saw that there were five holes in the ceiling. Our teacher explained to us that the ceiling tiles had fallen down due to water leaking through the roof. Adequate facilities will significantly reduce the distractions in the classroom and allow us to focus on our learning. The effects of under funding in our schools aren’t left unseen from students. Rachel Samuels a senior at Loveland High School explained the effects of the lack of funding in the district she’s seen around her saying, “ In my Pre-calculus class we, the Thompson school district, had been waiting all year to get new textbooks, but the district wasn’t able to afford it so we had to use worksheets for each individual and teach ourselves, and I know that was very stressful on my teacher along with me and my peers.” Under funding affects many aspects of our learning, but our school system doesn’t have to continue to struggle.
Perhaps one of the most devastating issues in our district due to the lack of money is the low teacher pay. The teachers in our district are paid substantially less than those in other districts like Poudre and Winsor school district. The starting salary for a teacher in the Thompson School district is about 70 cents less per hour than that of a teacher in Poudre school district. This makes it hard for the schools to keep the most motivated teachers in the district because it is likely they could find a higher paying job somewhere else. Large class sizes is also a very prominent issue in the Thompson School district. Tasha Reichhardt a Senior at Mountain View High school explained one of the effects of large class sizes by saying, “ at the beginning of the year I know some of my teachers were hoping that students would drop their class so that it wouldn’t be as overwhelmingly large and so that students could get the individualization they need.” It’s sad to see students not be able to reach their fullest potential because the environment they are in is holding them back.
As a student it’s hard to see your favorite teachers go, knowing that their talent will not be shared with the incoming students of the next school year. It’s also hard when you are that incoming student and you go into the school year excited for great teachers that you have heard so many things about just to find out that they left the district. This is not to say we don’t have many great teachers and staff in our district we definitely do, but these people shouldn’t have to choose between staying in the district they consider home and moving somewhere else to make a more reasonable pay.
The Thompson school district is my home as it is for many of my peers, and it has allowed me so many great opportunities, but as a community we need to strive to be better. Better for the students, better for the teachers who work so hard to ensure that we thrive, better for the parents who care so much about where their students education will take them, and better for the community as a whole that relies on a strong school district to prepare the next generation for all the challenges they may face in life.
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