Next week, my daughter’s second-grade class at Hirsch Elementary School will put on a show about the importance of character. This week, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Hirsch performed in a musical. And, last month, Hirsch teachers organized a school-wide art show.
Hirsch does not receive special funding to provide these opportunities for artistic expression. Rather, dedicated teachers go beyond their mandated curriculum to supplement the basic requirements. However, these types of opportunities may be lost as a result of budget cuts in Tracy Unified School District.
Hirsch, which was recently named a California Distinguished School for the third time, will lose seven teachers in the next school year. Hirsch class sizes will increase dramatically, as will kindergarten through third-grade class sizes in all the other elementary schools in TUSD.
It saddens me to hear of the cutbacks at Poet Christian School (see “Curtains close on Poet Christian arts classes,” Wednesday Tracy Press). However, those cuts are no more heartbreaking than the loss of seven valued teachers at Hirsch or those lost at other schools. The teachers who remain will struggle to accommodate an increase in the size of their classes, leaving little time for supplemental arts instruction or class performances.
I’m writing this letter because the Tracy Press has not given enough attention to the effect of budget cuts on the bulk of elementary schools in Tracy. In fact, I think the Press article on Poet minimizes the devastating impact that teacher cuts will have on schools.
Many of us — parents and teachers of young children — are fearful about what the next school year will bring. Yet, I am certain that the teachers and parents at Hirsch and other schools will pull together to ensure that our children feel as little of the cuts as possible.
There are 11 elementary schools in TUSD. All of them are special to their students and families, and all need the concern and support of our community at this time.