Setting: Classroom at St. James Elementary, Noon, Friday 4/8/11. Two 8th graders sit at a table.
Student President Brock: I’m telling you, there is no room to cut any more spending in any of our programs.
Assembly Leader Johnny: That’s because you keep putting all of the student government’s money into things we should not even be doing anyway! Listen, the bottom line is that if we cannot come to an agreement on the budget today, we are going to have to shut down the student government, and we both know how bad that would be. The library, the game room; all of it would be closed.
Brock: I agree, we need to reach a consensus today, but I assure you, every cent I spend out of my proposed $1,000 budget is completely necessary.
Johnny: Oh really? Let’s see here. (Flips through a notebook) $50 for an anti-bully squad on the playground! How can you afford to spend that much? The playground isn’t even part of the student government’s jurisdiction!
Brock: The bullying that has been going on at the playground is a schoolwide disaster that we cannot turn a blind eye to. If we stop taking action against bullies anywhere in the school, the bullying problem will only get worse. I am confident that other departments will step up and take control of the situation, so it is only a temporary spending measure. And you have to admit, the no-cry zone instituted in the playground has been pretty effective so far.
Johnny: But that program along with your anti-bullying initiatives in the cafeteria and hallways cost $200 a year! That’s 20% of our vending machine revenues!
Brock: This student government has a responsibility to make all areas of the school safe, not just our classroom. The funding issue is why I propose that we raise vending machine prices by 5%.
Johnny: 5%?! That is just outrageous! You know that the students have had a tough year. With all of their parents moving to condos, I’ve seen 5 kids begging to shovel the same walk or mow the same walk! They can’t afford an increase in candy prices right now!
Brock: We could delay enacting those measures for awhile I suppose, perhaps until right after I get reelected. (Thinks) The student government could always borrow more money from the math department for the time being.
Johnny: No, we are already up to our necks in IOUs to the math department, and we cannot afford to borrow anymore! You know that the math department could ask for that money now and the student government would be completely screwed, right?
Brock: Theoretically, but they won’t. The department chair and I are really close, and he knows if he calls me on our IOUs I will stop ordering rulers and protractors from him so fast his head would spin.
Johnny: That may be, but there is always a limit to how much a “friend” will lend you, and I think he probably knows enough about you to really damage your reputation around the whole school. I’m telling you, the only way to fix this budget deficit is to cut spending.
Brock: (Rolling eyes) Alright Johnny, let’s hear it again.
Johnny: We already agreed to cut $300 dollars off of our already bloated budget, so I GUESS you could say we are making progress. Now, if you can just agree to cut student government funding to the Unplanned Relationships program, I think that we will be ready to pass this budget.
Brock: That program is way too important to cut. Hundreds of male students would be forced to start relationships against their will, and we cannot allow that to happen.
Johnny: That is their own responsibility. I understand how it is possible to kiss a girl in the heat of the moment, but the boys of the class need to take responsibility for their actions and become “official” with the girls they kiss. It is not the right or duty of the student government to intervene in those situations.
Brock: If we cut the Unplanned Relationships program, there are suddenly going to be relationships all over the place that the guys never wanted and the girls only thought they wanted. Taking away this program is going to ruin lives!
Johnny: Well it’s not like anyone is forcing them to kiss these girls in the first place. They know even during the kiss that their actions could lead to an unwanted relationship.
Brock: Yeah, I guess you’re right to some degree. How about we cut the money budgeted to the Unwanted Relationships program in half and call it a budget?
Johnny: That sounds like a plan. Let’s pass this thing. (They both sign a sheet of notebook paper and put it in an envelope.) Man, how long have we been working on this thing?
Brock: Since the end of 6th grade, I think. You know, it’s funny, I saw my little brothers fighting the other day over how much money to spend on a new videogame, and I instantly thought of how similar it was to us arguing over the student government’s budget. Kind of sad, really.
Johnny: Yeah. We act like such children sometimes.