Silver Chips Online

Catastrophic cuts

By Allison Daitch, Online Managing Editor
March 12, 2011
Similar to the delicate balance in an ecosystem, each department in the Blair community performs a crucial job. If something were to happen to one position, whether it is a reduction or a complete cut, there will be a brutal chain reaction. With the recently proposed budget cuts, many positions around the county are on the chopping block. One of the jobs at Blair with the potential to be reduced is the essential position of the Career Information Coordinator - and doing so would be disastrous.

Career Center Coordinator Phalia West is responsible for helping students explore college and job resources and opportunities. Emma Lansworth
Career Center Coordinator Phalia West is responsible for helping students explore college and job resources and opportunities.
The Career Center is a department that provides crucial resources to students as they prepare to apply for college and plan their post-high school future. The Career Center does not only offer said resources during the school year but also remains open and busy during the summer, which is especially instrumental to Blazers going into their senior year and the college application process. However, with the proposed budget cuts, the position of the Career Information Coordinator will be reduced from 12 to 10 months, eliminating these essential summer hours.

Closing the Career Center during the summer will have definite damaging consequences. The summer is a time when parents can come in and talk with the Career Information Coordinator about what they should be doing for college, students can gather information about their options and upcoming challenges and dates are set up for when colleges will visit Blair. Without the summer hours, this will all be eliminated and everyone will be affected. "One hundred to 150 families depend on the summer time for consultations for colleges, scholarships and financial aid," Career Information Coordinator Phalia West said.

While the budget cutters might think that closing the Career Center over the summer will only impact West and her salary, it will actually be detrimental to all parents and students, especially juniors as they prepare to apply for colleges and scholarships. Furthermore, if the proposed reduction follows through all Career Center related phone calls and information will be placed upon the Counseling department, adding more weight to the already overwhelming duties of guidance counselors in between school years. “This will directly affect the counselors. All summer phone calls will go to them and they won’t be doing what they’re here for,” West said.

Principal Darryl Williams understands how important the position is and at one point even recommended Blair for having two Career Information Coordinators. However, Williams also understands the boundaries of the restricted budget and although he will be trying to fight against the cuts, he knows that a summer reduction is better than no position at all. The county's final budget will not be approved until May, giving county residents more time to provide testimonies and send letters explaining how essential they know the summer hours of the Career Center are.

Athough not all students take advantage of the Career Center, especially over the summer, numerous people do and it's not right to abandon them. The families that need guidance and assurance for the future need the Career Center, and the summer hours allow them to have the one-on-one experience. Without the summer hours, everyone will be hurt. Hopefully this ill-advised proposal will be overturned before the budget is finalized.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10767