School's Out -- of Cash

Impoverished schools are slashing programs, letting classroom sizes grow and teacher counts shrink. Some of them are just closing down.

In Kalkaska, Michigan, the students know all about cramming. They just tried to cram a year into seven months. Their spring term bumped to a halt last week when local school authorities, glumly eyeing a $1.5 million shortfall in their $8.2 million budget, chose to declare summer vacation in March. All through a cold winter, Matt Johnston had trudged to a 7:30 a.m. calculus class he hoped would earn him advanced-placement credit at college next year. Though teachers rushed through their lesson plans as the premature vacation neared, Johnston still wonders whether he should have stayed in bed. "The ((nationwide calculus))...

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