Photo: HMB HS students ask CUSD board to keep counselors

Posted by on Thu, March 11, 2010

Barry Parr
Many students, teachers, and parents spoke movingly, imploring the Cabrillo Unified School District board to not lay off all the district's counselors. Ethan Hofmayer led a group of students in recommending alternative ways of saving the counselors' salaries. The board, faced with few options, voted 4-0 to perform the planned cuts but to revisit the issue in April.

I heard the final student comments.  The comments were excellent, the students were impressive.

Alternate budget cuts were suggested.  One student made a particularly critical point:  Students must feel safe in school, from bullies and other threats, to be able to do their best in the academics. 

I think it is important for folks to know that the district board has very little discretion in is spending choices.  I have not looked at the budget, but it seemed that the students had.  I think discussions with the students about their priorities and needs might lead to some ideas administrators and parents might not have thought of.

The pleas were poignant, but a day too late.  We all received our lay off notices the next day. The decision had been made during the four previous board meetings.  By the time the Board met at Cunha, it was already decided…..but the support was certainly appreciated.

This is my opinion based on personal experience with my involvement in youth sports in the HMB/Pescadero area. I cannot speak for the Hispanic community on the coast side but there will be some very sad and shocked parents once the school district eliminates both the counselors and school sports. The loss of school counselors takes away the best direct communication families have with their children’s teachers without actually having to try and meet with them. Half Moon Bay High School has had tremendous success in the areas of mentoring the students and communicating those areas an individual child needs to work on. Eliminating school sports will also dramatically impact students lives because there is not much else left for them to do besides academics. School sports often acts as an incentive for some students to keep their grades up and has the added benefit of relieving stress and keeping them away from bad influences. If you are reading this post, and you are or have been a parent of a teenager, then you know how difficult life can be for those families on the coast side who cannot afford the time and/or expense of giving their chiuldren those outside opportunities for extra ciricular activities. The future of our children depends on how well everyone understands this tragic situation and the only alternative left is for all of us to bite the bullit and vote ‘yes’ on the upcoming parcel tax. Even if your teens do not attend one of the Cabrillo School District high schools, you need to think about how and what the affected children will deal with the issues of too much free time on their hands and no adult guidence to help them cope.