Urbana budget cuts won’t affect education majors

Though over $2 million in budget cuts for schools in Urbana may mean some cutbacks in supplies, it’s not presenting any new challenges for University education students teaching there.

Urbana School District 116 saw $2,278,700 in budget cuts this year.

“It’s kind of across the board—it’s not like one area took a hit, so everybody had to take a bit of a reduction,” said Carol Baker, director of business at USD 116. “We won’t be able to purchase textbooks, so that’s going to hurt.”

The district will be restricted from purchasing new textbooks for the 2010-2011 academic year, saving them $56,000 across elementary, middle and high schools in Urbana.

Baker reassures education students at the University that the student teaching program will not be affected by the district’s budget cuts.

“They’re (the students) still going to come and work in classrooms,” she said. “I don’t think it will be a major adjustment in class size.”

But Carly Hinrichsen, senior in Education, said the school district’s budget cuts are part of a larger financial crisis and students placed within the area for teaching will be faced with those challenges.

“Anyone who gets placed in Urbana will be introduced to these changes,” Hinrichsen said. “They get to see firsthand how budgeting is affecting school districts. It will provide us with a sense of reality of how budget affects us as teachers in schools.”

Emily Puffpaff, sophomore in Education, intended on becoming a teacher since childhood. She used to play school with her cousins growing up. “I always knew that from a young age I wanted to be around kids,” she said.

During her summer, Puffpaff said she worked at Rockin’ Kids, an eight-week music and developmental class for kids ages 21 months to five years old, where she was an intern and assistant to the main teacher.

“It was fun to see them grow,” Puffpaff said regarding her summer internship. “It made me want to be a teacher.”

Even though she has not started her field experience or student teaching yet, Puffpaff said she anticipates being affected by the budget cuts of any school district she would consider teaching in. She added that music, art and gym programs were being cut from the school’s curriculum and that would influence the role of a teacher.

She said she has worries and excitement for her student teaching experiences in the future.

“I’m expecting a lot of nerves, but I think it will be a fun, growing experience,” she said. “I’m most excited about interacting with the students and watching them learn.”