Tonight, I watched as parents, students, teachers, and alumni packed the middle school gymnasium in Piasa, Illinois to sound off on proposed budget cuts for the next school year.
Read what the superintendent of schools writes about the issue: www.piasabirds.net/PRESS%20RELEASE.pdf
The Southwestern School Board is trying to carve at least 2.3 million dollars out of the next school year's budget and is proposing cutting some extracurricular activities and staff positions (including 19 teachers and 21 teachers aides).
Some parents and students pleaded with the board to take programs like the school band, Future Farmers of America, and athletics off the chopping block.
Others suggested parents and the private sector help foot the bill for other activities.
The dilemma is not unique to the communities around Piasa. The state's budget crisis has lead to the state failing to pay schools promised funding. The Southwestern School District says that as of December, the state owed it 1.2 million dollars.
The board is asking families to come up with ideas to generate new funding sources. The district is also asking parents to lobby lawmakers for help.
Final decisions on cuts will be made by the next school board meeting - set for March 16th.