The Pioneer Maine East High School • Park Ridge, Il • February 1, 2010
District 207 BOE votes tonight on drastic cuts By Yogi Patel
Students from Maine East, Maine South, and Maine West protest District 207 Administration’s proposal to drastically cut teaching staff.
The District 207 Board of Education will vote tonight on a cost reduction plan proposed at the January board meeting in an effort to fill the gap in a $17 million structural budget deficit. The most controversial aspect of the proposed plan is the reduction of 137 jobs throughout the district, including 75 certified teachers. Staff members from all over the district were notified of their likely release in the days following the January 11th board meeting at which Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace first presented the Reduction Plan to the board. At the end of this school year, District 207 will have more than $85 million in its reserve fund – more reserve money than nearly every other comparable school district in the Chicagoland area. Despite this fact, Dr. Wallace and other administrators project that in five years, that fund will be so depleted that the district will have to start borrowing money. Dr. Wallace has argued that these drastic and unprecedented cuts to staff, which will save the district $5 million in 2010-2011, are the
necessary and “responsible” steps to take to keep the district financially healthy. With these proposed cuts of staff, the district will go from a total of 980 employees to 843 employees, the largest staff reduction in the district’s history. As a result, many programs will likely be cut and class sizes will increase in every subject; in fact, many subject areas will see class size increases of more than 20%. On January 20th, the board of education held a public forum at Maine East to explain the current financial situation, summarize the proposed cuts, and hear the community’s viewpoints and concerns. The forum began at 7:30 and continued until 11:45. According to the Daily Herald, more than 3,000 people attended the event and hundreds of concerned students, teachers, and community residents expressed their concerns to the board. The overwhelming sentiment from students, teachers, and residents was for the school board to tap into its large “rainy day” reserve fund to save teachers’ jobs instead of
see VOTE, next page
VOTE, cont. from page 1 making drastic staffing cuts that will damage the educational quality and sterling reputation of District 207 schools for years to come. Members of the Maine Teachers Association (MTA) handed out fliers and pamphlets with information explaining that cutting teachers isn’t the only option, although it’s the only option the Administration has pursued. “We are only as effective as we work together,” MTA President Emma Visee told the Daily Herald. Dr. Wallace started the forum with a presentation about the current financial situation and the projected situation in the next five years, followed by a brief speech from Board of Education President Edward Mueller. Despite having final exams the next morning, scores of students from East, West, and South stood in line for hours to speak on behalf of their favorite teachers and to encourage the board not to cut vital programs at the three schools. Anna Rangos, a junior at Maine South, spoke on behalf of a special education teacher at South. Literally in tears, Rangos spoke of the difficulties students face in a special education classroom. “It’s our education at stake,” said Rangos. “We’ve made very close connections with these teachers.” Michael Boritnowski, a sophomore at Maine West, worked with students from all three schools to prepare his speech to address the cuts
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Proposed Cuts Teaching Staff
Safety Monitors 16.5 Secretaries
that will negatively affect every student in District 207. Other students who made notable speeches included George Jabbour, a sophomore at Maine East; Cassidy Olson, a sophomore from Maine West; Ellen Coogan, a senior at Maine West; Jaime Espinoza, a senior at Maine East; Patrick Wohl, a sophomore at Maine South; and Raja Amjad, a junior at Maine East. Dozens of members of the fencing team at Maine West spoke out about their successful program and the plan to reduce it from a varsity sport to an intramural activity. Team members held trophies and medals to demonstrate the program’s success. The administration has since proposed to allow the fencing program to remain a varsity sport. Numerous parents came up to the podium with their children’s education in mind. The parents all shared the same opinion: cutting teachers is not a sensible option. They asked the board to explore other options in order to fill the gaps in the projected budget. Community members made strong rhe-
Joanna Gwizdz of Maine East and Matt Holubecki of Maine West hold up a sign at the protest held on January 22nd outside the Ralph J. Frost Admin. Bldg.
torical points during the evening. Former District 207 teacher and current Park Ridge resident Sandy Deines finished her comments by pointing out that the administration has always maintained that the reserve fund was only for a “rainy day”. “Well, guess what?” Deines said as she opened an umbrella and placed it on the stage in front of the school board and administrators, “it’s raining.” The final speaker of the evening was Maine East social studies teacher Mr. Gary Zielinski, who reminded the board members of the power that each of their votes has. The school board blames the historically terrible U.S. economy for part of its budget shortfalls, citing an extremely low CPI (Consumer Price Index), the figure that largely determines how much property tax money goes to a county’s schools. But even with the recent news that the CPI will be 2.7% instead of the projected 1%, the board modified its projections only slightly, and did not
see BUDGET, next page
Students protest outside the Ralph J. Frost Administration Center against the proposed cuts that include 74 teachers.
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BUDGET, cont. from page 2 reduce at all the number of staff who would be let go. The administration has also blamed the previous District 207 superintendent and business manager for accounting errors and mismanagement of funds. Former superintendent Dr. Joel Morris responded to the accusations in a letter to the Daily Herald defending himself against being held as a “scapegoat” for the district’s financial woes. “We need to recognize that even with the reduced revenue, District 207 has over $100 million in reserves, far more than any surrounding school district,” wrote Dr. Morris. “While some expenditure reductions are necessary because of the current economic situation, a reduction in these reserves would seem reasonable.”
On Friday, District 207 Administration continued its effort to try to convince the teachers’ union to renegotiating its current contract, which runs through the school year 2011-12. A public letter from Dr. Wallace on Friday said the District 207 Administration would recommend that the school board “tap into the reserve fund”, but only if the MTA agrees to open the contract. Despite rhetoric saying the teachers are not at fault for the current financial crisis, the administration has asked the MTA to renegotiate the terms of the contract that both sides negotiated, mutually agreed to, and signed less than two years ago. Critics of the administration’s proposed cuts point out that the size of the district’s reserve fund is considerably more than nearly every school district in the area, yet 207 is
the only local district proposing such drastic staffing cuts. Other skeptics of the board’s proposed actions disagree with the Administration’s dire financial projections. The board has not included the more than 35 teachers who will retire by 2012. Also ignored by the board’s projections are the millions of dollars of potential income from a casino, money that the city of Des Plaines has already budgeted for. “It’s hard to trust financial projections from the same people who have apparently mismanaged so much money,” said one Maine East teacher who didn’t want to be identified. The school board will make an official vote on its historic Reduction Plan tonight at its monthly public board meeting at 7:00p.m. at the Ralph Frost Administration Center at Maine South High School.
The Pioneer Staff 2009-2010 Editors-In-Chief
Yogi Patel Mona Hamdan Reporter Emily Lapinski Semester One Editors Selma Matezic Nadia Khavari Logan Germaine Dylan Guzman Amanda Shaw Michelle Zdobylak Shaun Kuriakose Max Lewis Erika Opperman
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SCHOOL BOARD MEETING 7:00 P.M. TONIGHT RALPH J. FROST ADMINISTRATION CENTER at MAINE SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL Second semester is a good opportunity to wipe slate clean! By Amanda Shaw So it’s second semester and you’re not exactly happy with where you are in your classes; what do you do? Just Breathe! There is a solution, actually there are many.Second semester the grades are erased and you get to start over. A clean slate is a chance to put the first semester laziness behind and work for the grades you want. So instead of sitting on the couch watching television and procrastinating, try just getting things done. If you get your homework done early, you get the time to yourself later.
Procrastination only leads to more and more procrastination, so the sooner you stop it the better. “Just grow up” says senior Afia Ekra. High school is only four years. Do what you’re supposed to and it’ll be over before you know it. So maybe you’d rather spend time with your friends than do your homework, but then your grades will suffer. “Form a study group so you can be productive while hanging out” says Mr. M an experienced teacher. So the next time you get the choice fun or homework, think about your grades and where you’d like them to be at the end of the year.
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Are Netbooks the future for freshman classes? By Mona Hamdan Wondering why about 150 netbooks were distributed among the students at school? It’s simple; these netbooks were distributed among the students at Maine East to get different opinions of whether of not future freshman classes should have netbooks. They are running a program, called a pilot program. A pilot program is a test or trial for a project you wish to study. As Department Chair for Applied Arts and Technology Mrs. Wachowski said, “You learn through experience.” The school has been provided with two different grants for purchasing the netbooks. One grant was for applied arts and technology, and the other grant was for the English department. Though the school did not purchase the netbooks with school
funds and savings, they sure do appreciate the help they have gotten to have the pilot program run. Some classes at Maine East are trying out the new netbooks on a daily basis to see if the future freshman classes should be provided with them or not. Netbooks are small computers -- basically they are like mini
notebook computers. “It’s a positive program,” said English Department Chair Mrs. Gallagher. You can always participate in a program like this by signing up for a class such as ITC and WTC. Not only do you become part of a program, you also get to learn things that
can benefit you throughout your life regardless of your future plans. ITC and WTC teacher Mr. Baysingar wants everyone to know that netbooks are great for everything. “The ITC and WTC classes teach students how to use netbooks to improve their grades in other Maine
East classes and for college,” Baysingar said. But as we all know, there are always two sides to an argument. Some faculty members like the idea of students carrying a netbook with them so that whereever and whenever they have free time, they can do their school work at school or even at home. But on the other hand, some faculty and even students at Maine East disagree with part of what the program provides to all students. Maine East senior student, Selma Matezic said, “The school should not invest in too many netbooks because they have enough computers at school. I think students who don’t have computer access at home should be the only ones to get them.” Now the question is, whether or not to get future freshman classes netbooks instead of books?
Top five jobs for teens in any economy Don’t let the economy bring you down. With a semester of school left, you can still save up a good amount of money this school year. Find a job that fits you best from my top five jobs for teens:
Place, 5.7.9, Gamestop, etc. Important traits working in retail include having good communication skills and being willing to work with customers. Jake, a retail worker, added, “The majority of stores start with a minimum wage pay, but give raises every few months depending on the store.”
Retail Stores When considering this job, also consider what kind of store you would like to work in. Keep in mind that you have a better chance of getting hired at larger stores, such as Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penny, etc., than you do at a smaller storelike Children’s
Babysitting If you like working with children and would not mind getting calls from parents every few days or being on a fixed schedule, babysitting is the job for you. The more experience you have with children the better the pay. A great help is if you
By Michelle Zdobylak
have been taking care of your siblings while growing up. When considering a babysitting job, responsibility plays a big factor. It’s not all games and fun. Keep in mind that you are responsible for someone else’s child for that period of time. Restaurants Wanting a job with flexible hours? Be a waitress/waiter! Even though the hourly pay isn’t good, the tips can go a long way. According to Anna, a waitress at Olive Garden, the pay is twice as good on weekends as on weekdays. Communication and organization are big parts of a waitress/waiter
job. “It’s a job that everyone should work at least once in their life”, says Anna. Landscaping Landscaping is a full year around job involving not just one duty, but many. These tasks include, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, ect. It’s all depending on the season, which you are willing to work in if not all. Your pay can vary a lot depending how good of a job you do and how much work you have done. With a job like this you need to make sure you have good connections with people that are willing to hire you for the job.
Tutor Your studies will pay a lot in this job. Literally. If you know someone who is struggling in a subject or two, set up a tutoring schedule between you (plus the parents of the child if they are younger) and an amount they are willing to pay you per hour. The schedule will work out perfect for you as it will fit into your availability schedule. Plus, you might learn a thing or two on the job. They’ll look up to you like no other. The sooner you apply, the sooner the job will come to you! I wish you luck on your job hunt!
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Not too late to make post-graduate plans! By Mona Hamdan “It’s not too late!” Maine East College and Career Counselor Mrs. Shankman repeatedly says that to seniors this time of year. The message: there is still time for seniors who have not made a plan yet for their post-high school years. But right away they need to search, compare, and decide on the school you want to attend after high school.
If you plan to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you still have time. The application process started January 1, 2010 and continues until March. Also, if you plan to apply for scholarship(s), you still have time. Just keep checking your school email. Mrs. Shankman keeps students updated with all the things they need to know about applying for a scholarships. She will also keep you updated
with information about FAFSA, scholarship(s) opportunity, and requirements before graduation. But you must act now! If you did not already, you need to get going. There are still some schools out there that have late application deadlines, such as Oakton. Search, compare, and decide on the school you want to attend graduating Maine East. Pick a school you feel pushes you to it every time someone mentions it
Many students have some legitimate concerns about the new policy. Sophomore Farhad Sattariaghdam can only get to school with a ride from his parents, who must be at work before 9:00am. On a late-arrival day, Sattariaghdam has to come to school at 7:00am. However the point of these schedules is that the school won’t be open until slightly before 9, due to the roads. The only option for Farhad would be to walk the roads which have been
deemed unfit for cars. Or to come early and wait outside of the school There is also the problem of attendance. If students have no way to get to school, then they miss out on a day that would have normally been canceled. We seem to have made it out of the most hazardous weather of this season. But there is still chance of this schedule being put to use. Hopefully we won’t be in a situation where we need to use the new schedule this year.
around you. The school you pick will be most likely the school you are going to attend for the next two to four years of your life. Deciding on a school is like deciding where you want to own your own business. You have to look at the whole package: the
physical geography of a college, the community surrounding the school, and the distance to the school from your home are among the considerations. Think wisely and do what you have to do before it really becomes too late!
New weather policy: late arrival, not cancellation By Shaun Kuriakose
On January 6, 2010, a bulleting on the District 207 webpage announced that on a day of severe weather warnings, Maine East, West, and South will, when acceptable, change to a Collaboration Day schedule rather than cancel the school day. This means that on days with weather warnings, school will start at 9:30 instead of the usual 7:30. As if the 2 hour delay is enough to clear the roads.
Would you want to come to school in weather like this, even with late arrival?
Photopportunity: What was your NewYear's Resolution?"
"Get down with all the veggies," said Sky Kim.
"Not to have a New Year's Resolution!" said Joe Disclafani.
"Watch more Oprah," said Vanessa Samson.
"Get all the ladies!" said Syed Rizvi.
Today’s musicians are hypocrites and bad role models By Emily Lapinski Music is said to be a source of understanding, comfort, personality, and emotion. When we hear a song, some of us pay attention to the music, sound, tempo, while others look more deeply to find meaning through the song’s lyrics. There have been many musicians out there who could either articulate one of the two aspects of music, and some who achieved both. We have been lucky through the years to be entertained by such talented performers as The Beatles, U2, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, and Michael Jackson, to name just a few.
They truly understood what music meant, and if we even try to compare them with the music artists of today, the results are pretty sad. These unique artists have had the ability to reach the top of the charts with music that was innocent, real, and expressed a true essence. They didn’t need to write about sexual behavior to get the attention of the public. The majority of today’s music is based on love and romanceand shows no creativity at all. What happened to writing about yellow submarines? Our musicians today have resorted to subjects like drugs, alcohol, criminal activity, and show many signs of being hormonally as well as
emotionally unstable. You do not have to be perfect to create art, but you have to use emotions experienced in the right ways so that something decent can come out of them. If you look closely at some individuals who write songs about love, like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Jay Sean, and Kanye West, we are appalled. These individuals, you can even say teenagers, write about love, but are constantly seen with someone new. They have the guts to write about things they have no real knowledge of, and try to convince listeners, but don’t feel the need to apply it to themselves.
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Interesting Facts When you sneeze… ...air passes through your nose at approximately 100 miles per hour. ...all bodily functions –including your heartbeat – stop for a millisecond. ...too hard it is possible to fracture a rib.
...it helps get the bacteria out of your system when having a cold.
...too hard you can cause a blood vessel in your head or neck to rupture.
...you must be awake. You can’t sneeze when you’re sleeping!
...your eyes close unless they’re held open.
...the bacteria from a sneeze can travel 2-3 meters or more.
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Great Lakes under siege by Asian Carp By Logan Germaine An Asian Carp epidemic threatens the Great Lakes multi-million dollar fishing industry. Although the fishing industry is under siege, the carp also threaten America’s natural wild life balance. Researchers are concerned that Asian carp will decimate the food chain that supports the native fish of the Great Lakes. “Due to their large size, ravenous appetites, and rapid rate of reproduction, these fish could pose a significant risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem.” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Asian Carp can grow to an enormous size of 50-110 pounds and length of 4 feet. These invaders are quickly becoming the most abundantly caught fish of the Illinois River watershed. Carp consume native fish and food at an extremely fast rate and in doing so will slow down and will eventually destroy the Great Lake fishing industry. Surrounding regions like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Canada are not looking forward to the upcoming battle of eradicating the great lakes of Asian Carp. However as a preemptive strike, wildlife authorities have began construction of a fish bar-
The Asian Carp is a threat to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.
rier to keep the Invasive Asian Carp at bay and out of the Great Lakes. Local fishermen are doing their part by not releasing captured Asian
Carp back into the river system. “I take a small hatchet with me when I fish so that when I catch a Carp I can kill it fast and humanly.” says a
local fisherman Brian Light. This however will not solve the problem but shows the community of fishermen are getting involved.
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Hands off that phone and on the steering wheel! By Nadia Khavari It’s time to stop paying more attention to your text message than to the way you drive. Yes, it is now illegal to text message while driving in Illinois. Governor Quinn signed the bill and the law took effect on Friday, January 1, 2010. This law also bans checking e-mail, Facebook and surfing the Web. It is still okay to use a phone’s GPS. “I think the law is beneficial because researchers are compairing ‘texting’ or distracted drivers to DUIs.” said Officer Ginualdi, “They go on further to say it may be worse than being intoxicated.” In Illinois, the fines for this moving violation will start at $75-$150 or
higher, depending on the situation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25-30% of reported crashes (1.2 million a year) involve drivers not paying attention. Also, drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in personal-injury crashes than other drivers. This new law is a primary offense which means that police can pull over drivers for it, just like failure to wear a seatbelt. The legislation was modified to allow drivers to text if they are pulled over or if their car has stopped due to traffic, an accident or at a train crossing. Drivers can also text to report an emergency. The bill now heads back to the Illinois House for
another vote due to these modifications. Some are probably wondering why this became a law. A car accident in September 2006 killed a University of Illinois graduate who was riding his bike and was killed by a distracted driver on her cell phone. The car accident was from the driver’s use of text messaging behind the wheel. Texting is one of the many things we use to communicate in our everyday lives. Although it is tempting to reach for your phone when you see a new text come in, think about the consequences that can happen to you and others around you. The risk you take may be life threatening. And now if you text while driving, you are breaking the law.
SKINNY ON TEXT
95% of all text messages are delivered within 10 seconds ••• 2 out of 3 Americans are texting on a regular basis ••• The response rate to text messages is on average over 90% ••• The first text message was sent in 1992 ••• 95% of all incoming text messages are read ••• The peak hours for texting are between 10:30 pm and 11:00 pm ••• Text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service on the planet ••• On average, Americans send and receive twice as many text messages as phone calls per month ••• Americans sent 1 trillion text messages in 2008 ••• Police report roughly 25% of crashes caused by texting being a distraction
MUSIC, cont. from page 6 Look at Chris Brown. In his song “Forever” he sings “you love me and I won’t let you fall girl.” This shows a person who values respect and is trying to get trust. Well, Chris, I am pretty sure beating someone does not show them respect. In Miley Cyrus’ song “Goodbye”, she writes “I remember till I cry but the one thing I wanna forget, the one thing I regret is saying goodbye.” This shows us a girl who cares about feelings and is brought to sadness when looking back at past relationships. In reality, I cannot come to see Miley
Cyrus crying over all of her relationships; her tears would run out. Every time she is part of a new project she ends up dating someone new. This girl switches around quite a bit, and I would think if she really felt sorry she would allow herself some time after saying goodbye. These hypocrites feel they have the privilege to act certain ways, on account of their status, but always seem to ensure us that they are just like us. The truth of the matter is that these individuals take their ability to speak out and make a difference for granted, and don’t take charge of their power to be innovative, inspirational, and creative.
Seussical the Musical!
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By Amanda Shaw Come one; come to the show you’ve all been waiting for – the musical event that comes but once a year is finally here! Seussical is this year’s musical presentation brought to you by the amazing Maine East drama department. For those of you who don’t know, Seussical is a musical is a musical about Dr. Seuss’s characters from stories like Horton Here’s a Who and Cat in the Hat.
The auditions have been held and the cast has been practicing long and hard preparing for the March 4 preview for elementary students. On March 5 the show is finally open to the public for two weekends only!! March5 and 6 and March 12 and 13 are your only chances to see this magnificent event. Keep your calendar clear for this one in a lifetime show.
Seniors Samantha Lento, Dylan Guzman, and Erikka Mae (from left to right) will give their final performances at Maine East.
The Truth About Finals
By Erika Oppermann