We need to protect the arts budget

Art by Ellison Lu

Art by Ellison Lu

by Eliana Megargee, Editor-In-Chief

If there’s one thing in our school district that everyone’s talking about right now, it’s money—or the lack thereof. The Shoreline School District recently released updated budget information and has begun the process of making budget adjustments for next year. If the district went forward as anticipated with no budget cuts, our allotted amount of money would be overspent by $12 million, leaving the district in significant debt (From “Budget Information / Budget FAQ” at www.shorelineschools.org.) 

While no official budget cuts have been made as of yet, it’s been discussed that there will be some serious changes happening for the 2023-2024 school year in order to save money.

As a senior, there’s a part of me that’s relieved for this to be happening after I leave high school, but I also feel how unfair these budget cuts may be for the classes below mine. And I can’t help but worry for the programs that I have been lucky enough to be a part of throughout high school.

The arts programs at Shorewood have kept me going throughout all my years here—the choirs, the theater program, even this newspaper, they’ve all helped me learn and grow and find a wonderful sense of community. 

Unfortunately, it’s likely that these programs are at high risk of budget cuts, judging by the general attitude towards the arts and notorious lack of money these programs receive. 

The arts are already low on money, as I know all too well from choir and drama, and we really can’t afford to lose any more. There’s always been this weird misconception that the arts shouldn’t be prioritized as much as other programs, especially sports programs. This idea is very harmful for those of us reliant on the arts for our mental health and social life.

Arts programs mean so much to so many people, and I know that I and many others gain a sense of belonging from them. There’s definitely an outward perception, from our school and in media, of sports teams providing something of a second home to students. 

While I don’t doubt the truth of that for those who play sports, it’s really important to acknowledge that arts programs serve as that second home for a lot of people. Taking away a space where people who have struggled to fit in elsewhere find community could be drastically harmful for many students.

While I realize that budget cuts will have to happen whether we like it or not, I hope that they will be well-thought out and equally balanced between departments, so that no one program will be at a greater loss than others.