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February 14, 2011 05:05 PM

Education Cuts Through The Eyes Of A 1st Grader

Sioux Falls, SD


Your kids may be listening more closely than you think when it comes to talk of possible cuts to education.
School administrators have been trying to keep kids out of the discussion, but they're the ones who would feel the impact if cuts are made. A Sioux Falls first grader doesn't want to see anything go away.

Seven-year-old Abby Ward attends first grade, and she truly loves to learn.

"I love to read books, love to do Smartboards because I get to play games on Smartboards and learn a lot of stuff," Abby said.

She doesn't miss much, either. Abby has heard talk about possible 10 percent cuts to education both at school and at home. And while she doesn't exactly know the reasons why, she does worry it could mean the end of valuable programs and services.

"Buses, some of the teachers, if something broke we wouldn't really have it anymore," Abby said.

"She has come home a couple different times very upset, hearing there's not going to be eighth grade, they may take away buses, she may never see her bus driver Paul again if they took away buses," Abby’s mom Kim Ward said.

Kim tries to put her daughter at ease by explaining that these things aren't gone yet, and final decisions haven't been made. But it still weighs heavily on Abby's mind.

"Her first grade teacher, what if she didn't have a job, and I've had to sit down and not get too political with her because she is first grade, but explain what the cut is and what it means for students," Kim said.

Abby's fears are the same as her parents' and many others as they wait for final word on a budget from Pierre.

"The governor obviously has to make cuts somewhere, but I think at the expense of the children and their future, I think there are other things that can be done," Kim said.

"Just hurts my heart that some stuff might be gone, some of my favorite things," Abby said.

Many school districts are encouraging parents to contact their lawmakers and tell them how cuts would impact them. And while no schools have made decisions on what would be cut, many administrators say teacher jobs and services like busing could be at risk.
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