With bills mounting and revenue stagnant, Westside school district said it must make cuts to stay solvent.
The school board is considering cutting a few jobs and parents and students are rallying to save the programs and teachers they love.
The District has a budget shortfall of about $5.4 million dollars for the 2016-2017 school year. School officials said they have a plan to make up most of that gap but it means cuts across a few programs.
One position on the chopping block is a K-12 instrumental music teacher.
According to the Westside website, the reasoning for this potential cut is because ‘during the past few years, enrollment has declined in instrumental music. District administration will work with instrumental music staff to more efficiently allocate staff time moving forward. While caseloads may be slightly higher, the District expects to provide the same educational programming for students’.
That cut would save the District $65,000.
This proposal leaves a sour note for those who are involved in the school band.
“Removing one position could eliminate something that some people find very important-and it made some somewhat fearful for what was to come in the future,” said band student Parker Gifford.
Gifford along with other students want the Westside School Board to find a new plan to make up the multi-million dollar gap.
“They each bring something different to the table,” said Gifford.
“They are always there to support us and bring us together and it would be a shame if one of them got cut,” said band student Taylor McBride.
The proposed cuts worry parents too, saying the district keeps chipping away at the music program.
“We don't want to cut anymore, any of them because it dangerous for years to come, we won’t have any band, choir, strings anything if we keep cutting elementary or any of the positions,” said
“This is hope, if you keep taking away hope what are you going to be left with?” said parent Tereza Wigodsky.
On its website the District explains its plan saying the District is land-locked and property tax revenue hasn’t grown in almost 6 years, yet district expenses continue to rise.
The District said they looked for the programs and positions that would have the least impact on classroom instruction.
Band parents said that argument falls flat.
“Music helps with math, science, general getting up in front of people, social skills and really it's helped my son in school,” said parent Christian Litton.
This is just one of more than 30 different proposed cuts involved in this budget. KMTV reached out to all the Westside board members for a response about the proposed cuts however none of them were about to speak with us by the airing of this story.
The District is expecting such a large crowd at its budget meeting Monday night it has moved the meeting to the Westside High School auditorium at 6pm.