Lakeshore News Tonight

School Plans Affected by Federal Government Shutdown

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October 2, 2013 — A Union Township elementary school is changing its annual nature lesson field-trip plan today after the federal government budget lapse this week.

Thousands of federal employees were furloughed and dozens of offices and departments closed yesterday after Congress could not agree on a compromise on a continuing resolution to keep the government running.

The principal of Union Township’s John Simatovich Elementary School says the shutdown left the school scrambling to modify its annual three-day science and history trip to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, starting today.

Simatovich Elementary School Principal Phyllis Allison says, “The kids look forward to it from the time they are, like, in kindergarten, first-grade, because they get to take this trip.”

Allison is making some last minute changes to the 5th graders’ annual class trip to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore park because of the federal government shutdown.  Allison says, “There have been phone calls from parents, what are we doing, the Natural Parks are closed, trying to find out, contact the people out at the park.  What are we going to do?”

Allison says the changes range from lodging in cabins, as planned at the federal park, to sleeping under the stars in tents elsewhere.  She says at the federal park, “There are cabins, a mess hall where they get their meals, there’s a kitchen and all kinds of activities.”  Allison says all of these amenities are now stripped away, but she says the kids’ excitement has not diminished.

Allison says, “Kids are pretty flexible;  they bounce back pretty quickly.”

4th grade teacher and chaperon Nicholas Smith says this adjustment is a good learning experience for the 5th graders.  He says they might not fully understand the details of the shutdown, but they know they have been affected by it, “It came from all the way from the top down, and it reached all the way to us here in Valparaiso and so I think that’s a good lesson.”

A life lesson these 5th graders might never forget.


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