Field trips nixed due to budget constraints

Field trips nixed due to budget constraints by M. Jill Karolevitz Field trips are the latest victims of the budget crunch faced by the Vermillion School District.

During their meeting Monday night, members of the Vermillion School Board agreed with a recommendation by Superintendent Robert Mayer, to curb out-of-town, district-funded field trips.

Mayer said that the district spends from $5,000 to $7,000 a year on out-of-town trips.

�Unless the funding situation changes, we will have to continue to narrow our programs and get down to basic education,� he said. �From a budget standpoint, we have to look at what we can afford to do without and this is one thing. And it�s painless. It doesn�t cut a job or affect the quality of education.�

The superintendent is also concerned with taking students out of classes.

�I know of one student who missed five days for four field trips this year,� Mayer said. �Not all were district funded, but that�s too many days to miss. It�s excessive and it�s an outrage.

�We�re under great pressure to meet state educational standards and for our students to perform well on standardized tests,� he continued. �We can�t do that if students are missing school for field trips. I think it�s time to rein this baby in and say enough is enough.�

The school board agreed and approved the elimination of all district-funded field trips out of Vermillion for all students. Vermillion Middle School students can raise their own funds for one trip annually, but they all must have educational value as it relates to school curriculum.

�I have no problem with fund raising for trips,� Mayer said. �But this community is saturated from us, the university and civic clubs asking for money. There�s got to be some kind of a limit.�

Vermillion High School Principal Doug Tuetken noted that special situations regarding field trips will no doubt arise within his school. Mayer acknowledged the point.

�The high school is a little different,� he said. �There may be some trips that directly relate to specific curriculum activity, such as a biology class going to Gavins Point Dam. But those kinds of trips will have to be assessed by the principals. We�re not trying to eliminate trips that relate to a specific lesson plan. But their merit will be judged independently.�

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