Seniors wrongfully bear brunt of budget crisis

Laptop distribution process put on hold for the 2019-2020 senior class


Abraham Zepeda, Managing Editor

The Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) has decided to add on to the ever-growing stress found in the senior class by stripping them of an instrument they have relied on for the entirety of their secondary education.

The new policy was first reported to the public by NBC 7 News on July 16 describing the new changes delaying the process of the senior class receiving laptops during the 2019-2020 school year. Later on July 19 senior students and their parents were sent an email from the district describing the latest of policies implemented to counter the budget crisis.

I started with the SUHSD in the fall of 2014 at Bonita Vista Middle School like many that live in the area. At this early age in my education, I was taught that we as students are moving in the direction of a technologically driven era that we must adapt to. Since then, for the past five years I have used the district-provided technology to supplement my school work for a wide variety of assignments from group powerpoints to simple research for any questions I may have.In fact, when they are unable to answer a question, many teachers say, “Google it.” 

I, like many students, have relied on these devices to do schoolwork. Now, the SUHSD is adding on to the countless problems brought on by the district’s budget deficits whether it be the early retirement of beloved teachers in the middle of the school year or the lack of transportation to school or sporting events. The senior class of 2020 will not be receiving laptops at the start of the school year despite needing it the most.

For the duration of time that technology has been integrated into education, teachers have relied on technologically centered coursework for students to do their work on. Teachers who have been implementing technology into their course for years must now take steps backward to accommodate the new changes occurring.

Though most students have access to programs on their mobile devices, students have been taught for many years that they should not use their phones in class as teachers find it disruptive.

This class is the one that will be needing it most as they move towards the next stage in their lives without the necessary resources that the now technologically centered college education and workforce require.

“We plan to allocate a pool of approximately 1,400 available laptops across our high school sites,” says the email from the SUHSD. “In response to the new policy, the SUHSD is providing students with technology in the classroom with “COWS – computer on wheels.” 

The problem for many is not the need for computers in the classroom, but rather a need for computers to use at home to supplement their instruction at home. Having been only one week into the school year, I have been required to complete homework on a computer at home in a computer science course that may now no longer be quite as accessible to the senior class.

The senior class is about to enter what, up to this point, may be one of the most decisive points in their education as they begin the college application process. Seniors are expected to take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT and write their college essays, all while continuing the final requirements left as high-schoolers. The SUHSD is now adding on to the surmounting stress that seniors face as they decide what they want to do with their lives moving into adulthood. 

“Putting students first” is one of the mottos boasted by the district year-round. Ironically, the lack of laptops for seniors shows an entire class’ best interest being placed as the second priority.