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Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

Budgeting, schedule constraints leave students with tough choices

An+empty+classroom+is+the+tragic%2C+but+possible+fate+of+some+AP+classes+at+Buena%2C+starting+with+AP+Statistics.
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An empty classroom is the tragic, but possible fate of some AP classes at Buena, starting with AP Statistics.

It is a universally known fact among students that your counselor is essentially unreachable in person during the first weeks of school. Every break of the day includes a line of students so long that maybe half of them get through by the end.

In line this year was senior Skyler Nerida, who ended up having to drop three classes and switch her math to take Clothing 2 and Advanced Placement [AP] Literature and Composition. She was left “frustrated” and “stressed” when the overlap of her desired classes required her to take AP Calculus rather than AP Statistics, which she believed would be less challenging.

“I went into senior year expecting to finally be able to adjust my schedule however I wanted to, but I could not,” Nerida said in an email interview.

One reason for these kinds of difficulties in schedules has to do with district funding. As funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis, fewer students means fewer classes offered and classrooms with every desk taken. While Buena teachers have not been let go due to budget cuts, some positions have not been filled after someone left for one reason or another.

“I would always love it if the district would give us more teachers but they are working within their budgeting constraints,” Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Tiffany Dyer said.

While the shift to offering seven periods might appear like there are more classes offered or more teachers instructing throughout the day, the staffing has remained the same, so this is not the reality.

“The majority of teachers are only teaching one through six but many students have classes one through seven which puts pressure on the rest of the other class periods,” Dyer said.

Buena is not technically understaffed, as we started the school year with every teaching position the district allows, filled. However, the scheduling conflict hinges on the fact that the current number of students does not support a demand for additional teachers, but the current number of class sections offered does not quite support the needs of the students as some classes fill up. In opposite circumstances, some classes are so small they are no longer feasible to run, as was the case this year with AP Statistics.

The challenge is that if there continues to be declining enrollment, [the schedule] is just going to get tighter and tighter and tighter. It is a shrinking effect.”

— Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, Tiffany Dyer

Administration is careful to keep the AP schedule as accommodating as possible, but conflict does arise when AP students want to take specific electives or passions that are only available one period, which academic counselor Natasha Hillis would call “singleton classes.”

“The students are often frustrated if they can not get the classes that they want…” Hillis said. “But we have had students take [a class] over the summer, come back and say ‘I want that elective’ but we can not get them in [because they are full].”

Attempts to mitigate this issue have been sought in the office. With options like dual enrollment, students have access to classes they could not take here along with electives Buena does not offer. Dyer also has plans to adjust the master schedule in the coming years as students and staff adapt to the new seven-period day. But only so much can be done when the issue stems from something completely outside of Administration’s control.

“The challenge is that if there continues to be declining enrollment, [the schedule] is just going to get tighter and tighter and tighter,” Dyer said. “It is a shrinking effect.”

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About the Contributor
Madysen Hawley, Editor-in-Chief
Madysen Hawley is a senior in her third year of journalism. She enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, crocheting, and watching football.

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