Eighth-graders taking earth science classes are among the few Eudora students who still can take their studies outside the classroom.
Schools across Kansas are facing dwindling revenue from the state, and Eudora is no exception.
So as a cost-cutting measure, the Eudora school board recently enacted a moratorium on all field trips not tied to curriculum.
Each trip costs, on average, $1,200. The cut will not affect the senior trip because students independently fund it.
“Those that are directly tied into the curriculum, (if) it’s a learning activity that there are not alternatives for, we’re continuing to do those,” said Superintendent Don Grosdidier.
Dan Kuhlman, who has tied his earth science course to the curriculum for years, said the trip to rural Douglas County is a hit with students.
“It’s a real inquiry period where the kids are involved in actually doing real science, so it’s an application of the whole thing,” Kuhlman said. “Rather than bringing rocks in from the outside and doing the lab inside, we’re just taking the lab outside and doing it in place and it’s worked really effectively.”
But Eudora students no longer will take trips to zoos, the state capitol building or museums.
Instead, district officials are asking teachers to get creative in the classroom to make up for the field trip experiences that are now lost.
“On a personal level, not only am I a principal but I am a father of three children of varying grade levels and different schools in the district,” said Rich Proffitt, Eudora Middle School principal. “It really saddens me that we’ve come to a point where we didn’t create this, but we’re having to deal with it.”
Recent state cuts have caused a $355,511 decrease in the district’s funding. Furthermore, Grosdidier recently told the board that another $286 cut to base state aid per pupil was possible, which would slice another $800,000 from the district.
The Eudora High School fine arts department already has figured out how to hold the line on expenses.
With one of the school’s largest performances less than a week away, students have spent only about $100 on set and supplies — compared with thousands spent on previous productions.
“If that means that we are up here building and that I am with the power saw — and that’s a little scary for me — then that’s what it is and it’s fine,” said Angela Yarnell, director of the choir and drama department. “We just do what we have to do to make the show happen.”
As they finalize work on the musical “Songs for a New World,” students said they felt a lot of pride because they refurbished and built everything on stage.
“(Yarnell) was very clear at the beginning that we would have to put a lot of time and effort into it,” said Taylor Johnson, a senior. “I think because we did make all of it, it does make it special and unique.”