Earlier this year, the Le Mars Community School Board, faced with declining enrollment and the rejection of the Instructional Support Levy (ISL) voted to cut next year's budget, cut $254,000 from the budget.
Among the items cut from next year's budget was the welding portion of LCS' Trades and Industries (T&I) program. Reaction by the public to these cuts was strong, and the board will partner with Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) to provide jointly administered college level courses to LCS students. Discussions are ongoing to provide the Welding 2 that is needed by students currently enrolled in the program.
WITCC officials have suggested the hiring of an adjunct faculty member, who would teach the Welding II program in the afternoon to the high school students and then teach an evening class in welding for adults.
Supplemental weighing of the dual credit course students allows for some state funding for the school district. However, Superintendent Todd Wendt said the district does not have money to fund a faculty position and cannot fund it to keep within the budget cuts the board passed in April.
Finding funding for the instructor is one of the ways a proposed T&I Booster Club may be able to help. A preliminary draft of a constitution for the group, based on the Music Boosters constitution, was presented to the board.
Voting members of the organization are the parents and/or guardians of all T & I students enrolled in the Le Mars Community High School T & I (Automotive and Welding) programs. Associate members are any other adult and/or Le Mars Community Alumnus interested in the purpose of the organization and will be non-voting members.
The group will begin fundraising activities, and until their nonprofit status can be established, funds will be channeled through the LCS Foundation. It's good that folks are willing to get involved to help solve this current problem. Perhaps, in the long run, the T&I Program will be made stronger with the help of the community.
But, as we were told by the athletic and music boosters earlier this year, their efforts make good programs better. They are not the driving force for funding, nor should they be.
Why not a T&I booster club?