Ask a student what his or her favorite class is, and there will likely be a variety of answers. Yet, a few select classes will always be named near the top of the list: classes like art, theatre, and every single ROP course. The ROP program is a thriving part of the SLVHS school program; it is an integral part of one’s high school experience, and as of recent events, it is in danger of being shut down, perhaps permanently.
The dangers to the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) are the result of a series of statewide budget cuts to the ROP system that were approved last year. Luckily, the cuts will not take effect until 2015, so next year’s ROP classes are not in danger; however, the future of the ROP system beyond next year is dark and unknown. Despite numerous pleas by Santa Cruz county officials, the state has not backed down from its position on the budget, and so far, an alternative source of funding has not appeared.
Well, unless the school system itself could pay for the local ROP courses. David Grant, primary ROP instructor at SLV (ROP Construction, Green Tech, and Aquaculture teacher) says, “It is possible that ROP classes could continue here in Santa Cruz County, if all of the school districts choose to fund the program.” With that possibility, perhaps the future of the ROP program in Santa Cruz is not so dark. The movement to support the Santa Cruz ROP system is widespread, and Ms. Van Putten is a member. “Ms. VP is very committed to keeping ROP classes at SLVHS”, says Grant, “She has been very supportive of the Santa Cruz county ROP program and is trying her best to search for funding methods in order to continue the program.” Thank you very much, Ms. VP, we appreciate your help.
As for the students, they have rallied behind the ROP flag, at least metaphorically. Senior Michael McGlashan, says “I don’t want to see the ROP system go, I’ve had a lot of fun in this class! It’s so stupid that they’re cutting the budget.” His sentiment was echoed around school by student who had an ROP course, and even a few who didn’t, like Cece Kuzbyt , who says “I think they’re very good classes to have, though Aquaculture needs to be more supervised.” With all this support, there seems little chance of the ROP course being done away with.
This is partially due to the fact that an ROP class is more than a class; it is a stepping-stone to getting a job in a variety of fields. As Mr. Grant says, “ROP classes give students a great opportunity to get hands on Career Technical learning. They are designed so that students can start training for a career or a college degree pathway such as engineering or marketing while they are in high school.” ROP classes can be the key to gaining valuable experience in fields like construction and architecture, which could lead to a steady, high paying job; why the budget is being cut is a mystery.
Still, there is a possibility—slim perhaps, but it exists—that the ROP program might be saved. Hopefully, the classes will stay at the school. Until then, keep those fingers crossed, and pay close attention to Mr. Grant; it could be vital to your survival in the modern world.
– Zach Passmore