Wallets welded shut


Senior Jefferey Cronin uses a plasma cutter to cut of a piece of steel. Photo by: Kole Petty

Koleton Petty

The underfunding of VHS Welding and Fabrication class

Manufacturing is the second largest industry in Ventura County according to Datausa.io. Datausa.io also states nearly 43,000 jobs in the county involve manufacturing. Because VHS has two periods of Welding and Fabrication classes, each having around 35 students, the amount of supplies and materials is limited. But what’s even more limited is the class budget. VHS welding teacher Glenn Murphy said the class budget gets “less and less” each year. According to Murphy, there is a budget of $30,000 for Robotics, which he also teaches. Murphy explained, “our budget is split between us and robotics.” This means that all remaining money Robotics does not use, is scraps for Welding. Murphy said the class gets around $3,000 after Robotics gets near all of the money. The class budget is around “five to $6,000” too low says Murphy.

Welding teacher Glenn Murphy show his student how to fix a welder. Photo by: Kole Petty.

When asked what kind of condition the shop was in, sophomore Jack Carrol, a student in the Welding and Fabrication class said, “the shop has a lot of work to do in it and it should be a lot nicer.” The paint on the walls is peeling. The tools and machines are rusty. Some of the drill presses and lathes are from early 20th century. Murphy said the class will need “$10,000 dollars every year for the next four years,” to get all the broken tools and machines replaced or repaired.  Murphy had to put $2,000 dollars of his own money into the class last year to pay for the gas so the students could continue welding for the rest of the year. 

For many kids, welding is a viable career that they could enter after high school and for the rest of their life, but the VHS classroom isn’t in the best shape. The building is old and run down. The tools are broken and banged up. The evidence of a poorly funded class is abundant. It’s just a matter when someone will listen.