Language Education Affected in Iowa Budget Cuts

Students in the Iowa City School District are to suffer the loss of language classes in state budget cuts, starting next year.

The School Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2015 in Tuesday’s meeting, including budget cuts totalling $3.6 million.

The proposal is set to see the loss of all German- language programs, all seventh-grade language programs and class size increases across the school district. The plans will also affect music education, eliminating fourth-grade orchestra programs and all general music programs at junior high level.

Cutting and reducing language programs would save the district $124,000 throughout the high school district and a further $239,000 from junior high schools, but the decision has been met with sadness and disappointment from community members, following official approval from Superintendent Steve Murley who claims “…this is the lowest [amount] we can do”.

Ulrike Carlson, a member of the Iowa City community took to the microphone to challenge the decision: “Any cuts to culture, arts, and language programs are not going to have the desired effects…it’s going to make us worse as a School District, which means doors will close for students in the future.”

Murley said students currently enrolled in German courses will have the opportunity to continue their studies, progressing to higher levels, but level one will no longer be offered in coming years.

Continuing on a note of dissatisfaction Carlson added “…language and the arts are key to many aspects of successful learning and life; it removes an ability to understand culture, it’s not only about speaking, it’s about understanding another culture, about enlarging our narrow view of the world”.

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