The library looks a little fuller this year. Despite extreme budget cuts and the loss of several teachers, Homer High School received new computers in the library and room B102. Chad Felice, a teacher in the computer lab, seemed equally astounded at the new acquisition. “All these computers are new,” he says, gesturing at the screens all around him. “I don’t know where the old ones went.”
The change comes after a bleak reveal of the new KPBSD budget, with several teachers being laid off to account for the deficit. The school lost 7 teachers last year, according to Doug Waclawski, the principal of Homer High School. Although the school library got new computers, it also lost the laptop cart that many students cherished for its accessibility and flexibility for use in free and online periods. As the school replaces older computers, the loss of the old ones has severely impacted many students. “To keep my grades up in online government, I need a laptop,” says HHS senior Nina Ellington. “I have no choice but to bring my own.” Homer High scholars struggle for easy access to computers for use in online classes, a quickly growing concern as online classes become more prevalent.
As 63 students have at least one online class at the school, the need for consistent access to computers has expanded. In some instances, students have turned to each other to ask where they could find a laptop when the library is closed with a class inside and the computers in the lab are all occupied. One common “last resort” for students who need to work on their online periods has been to borrow Mr. Stineff’s laptops or those designated to other teacher’s rooms. The search for internet access in the school has taken away from time that students could be utilizing to get ahead in their classes- for the first week of the school year after the changes had been made, some students were even unable to find a place to work or computers since the library was then being occupied by classes and off limits at times.
Although some grapple with the new situation, others claim that it hasn’t been an issue for them. Clayton Arndt, a senior and a journalist who needs computer access to write articles in time to publish them on the school blog, claimed that “I’ve still been able to get my work done.” Clayton, among others, says “It’s not so bad once you learn to track down the laptops or find one in a classroom to use.” Although new computers may not have fixed the problem of too few computers, Homer High School students are finding ways to get work done.