Field trip cuts are being felt by staff, students

In light of increased school costs, something had to give

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Lilly Bristol, Reporter

Not only have field trips been mostly suspended this year, but no one knows if they’re coming back.

Mr. Joseph, principal of De Pere High School, said the leading cause that most field trips were eliminated is because of inflation. The cost of many items bought each year such as Chromebooks and textbooks has increased and put the school over budget.  

“Things are just more expensive and we didn’t get a ton of more money (from the state), so some tough decisions are being made,” Mr. Joseph said. “I made the decision to start at field trips. … The reality is that fiscally, things are way more expensive than they used to be.”

In return, Mr. Joseph and the administrators are opening up other options for the teachers to have a similar “field trip” experience. 

“The thing to balance is, What’s the purpose of the field trip? Is it just to get out of school and get out of the class? I get it,” he said. “But what’s the educational purpose and can we deliver that in a different way? Rather than going somewhere, can those people come to us? … I do think that it is beneficial in many cases. In all cases? Not necessarily.”

An example of what is mandatory compared to nice is shown in paying for an interior design field trip contrasted to supplying necessities for a classroom. 

“Going all the way down to IKEA is a couple thousand dollars,” he said. “It adds up really quick. At the expense of what? Not buying food for our Foods classroom? We can’t do that, but that would be an example of some of the decisions.”

Many students do not realize what field trips used to be held. However, when asked what classes were affected most by this change, department heads answered the following: Physics, AP Biology, and Tech Ed. These, along with many other classes like interior design, have been stripped of important as well as fun parts of their curriculum and out of the classroom experiences. 

“Big bummer,” said Mrs. Ryba, a teacher in the Tech Ed department. “We were taken back because we really truly enjoy going on these field trips.”

Teachers of the Tech Ed department have gone as far as reaching out to companies who have donated wood and other materials to them already, asking for them to pay the fees for the students to come on a field trip. 

A few companies have agreed, but for how long? Can every class at this high school be successful in asking for support? Mr. Allen, another teacher in the Tech Ed department, doesn’t think so. 

“If all teachers in all districts were to do that, then the companies would have to set a precedent to say who are we going to allow or pay for the field trips,” Allen said. “It was nice to have the money in my back pocket, but now I have to ask for it from other businesses.”

Other teachers believe that maybe field trips should have stayed and other things should go, including Mr. Schmidt, science department head.

“I understand why it was done,” he said. “I feel like there could have been more of a discussion to determine whether that was the best course to save money or not.” 

Tech Ed teacher Mr. Turner said he was frustrated by the changes.

“We have so many different job opportunities – the things people can do that require going and seeing how it actually works in real life,” he said. “It’s really hard for us not to be able to take them.”