What are we spending our money on?

It seems like we're throwing all our dollars into the wrong place. ()

It seems like we’re throwing all our dollars into the wrong place. ()

It’s no secret that the school is in the middle of a financial crunch. Nobody seems to have any money these days, and with the economy in the state it is, you can’t really blame them.

But everyone who’s walked on campus on any given day in the last several years knows that Skyline is undergoing a series of major renovations, planning to get everything from a new building to new pavement in the courtyards.

It’s also no secret that the campus is bursting at the seams with students this semester. Enrollment is up something like 16 percent, due to both an influx of new students from high school and other colleges turning away students.

In short, we’re broke and we’re packed. Everyone complains that there’s no money for anything – but if you look around, you can see evidence of who knows how many dollars being spent to renovate the campus.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoy a prettier courtyard as much as anyone. But what was wrong with the old one? Did we really need to spend all that money on ripping out what was there and redesigning it? In the meantime, there are 50 or more students to a teacher, with wait lists as long as your leg.

If you ask me, this is about the opposite of what the budget should be focusing on. New trees are nice and all, but the old courtyard was perfectly functional, and I’m sure that the campus could have benefitted more from another half-dozen teachers than a half-dozen construction workers.

I don’t think this is asking for much. When the budget is in such a sorry state that teachers are reminding students not to lose any handouts because it costs money to photocopy more, you’d think that the kind of decisions about where to spend our money would be made a little more carefully.

Why put all this money aside to build new buildings – which will take years – when our campus is in desperate need right now? Unless every classroom is booked every hour of every day, there’s no excuse not to take that money and use it to hire a few extra teachers, even if they have to teach classes at odd hours. This is doubly true when the amount of students crammed on campus is at a record high – an astronomical 10,180 according to the latest Skyline Shines.

There is, of course, the possibility that I’m wrong about all this. Maybe all the construction was bought and paid for years ago, the money is already gone, and all that’s left is for the workers to do their jobs. If that’s the case, fair enough.

But if even the slightest decision on the issue remains to be made, I feel that it needs to be made with the highest possible consideration for the students. If the choice comes down to planting a few more trees or hiring an extra teacher for the year, I’d take the teacher any day.