Budget cuts don’t affect new technology purchases

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As the school year began, students noticed an increase in the amount of technology, including the replacement of the old desktops and iPads for a senior class. Many students wondered how the school could afford the technology, especially when rumors about budget cuts have circulated in the halls. However, the administration states that budget cuts and the new technology purchases have no connection.

Senior Brian Van expressed the thoughts of many: “If [the administration] are experiencing budget cuts, why are they spending their money on new iPads? Why don’t they spend it on teachers?”

Sophomore Benjamin Chang also wondered why the administration didn’t “spend the money on clubs and teams who need it instead.”

Ms. Fee and Mr. Barbetta explained that the new computers that the school installed at the end of last year had nothing to do with the budget. The school received them through a grant our local council members give called RESO A. The grant gives our school $100,000 that is meant for technology alone.

“I think the new computers are a great improvement, after taking Japanese in the computer lab for the last 2 years with the old computers,” said senior Elizabeth Williams.

“I feel like they’re a good benefit for the school,” said junior Taylor Johnson, “because the computers that we had before were pretty run-down and old. Now we are moving into the new age of computers and technology; this is a first step towards broadening our horizons.”

Despite the fact that the technology purchases are unrelated to budget cuts, some students feel that the new technology has not been adequately used.

Senior Joanna Wong stated that “most of the teachers in our school don’t even use them or know how to use them; even with the seniors getting iPads for college class that was an experimental thing but it really hasn’t changed the way we learn or anything –besides less books and more playing with new iPads!”

Senior Aditya Samaroo showed his discontent with the technology when he said that the “money could have gone into getting new laptops for the teachers rather than computers for each SmartBoard. The computer itself couldn’t be connected to the SmartBoard during the initial setup.”

Junior Ashif Ullah said, “Some teachers prefer Macs over PCs, so they don’t use the PCs.”

Changes in the school system often sweep the student body up in a cloud of confusion, panic, and misunderstanding. The “budget” often becomes the generic answer to explain issues that arise, but few students understand how the budget actually works.

Townsend Harris gets money from four sources: the Department of Education (DOE), the Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA), the Alumni, and the money raised from events like concerts and bake sales, said Ms. Ellen Fee, Assistant Principal of Organization, Health & Physical Education at Townsend Harris. For this school year, Townsend Harris High School received over six million dollars from the DOE.