Around 300 students, parents and teachers were out in full force in Drexel Hill Tuesday night to let their voices be heard.
They gathered at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center to protest a proposal from the Upper Darby School District. The proposed plan would cut specialized teachers in music, art, physical education and library studies at the elementary level. Those classes would be taught by regular classroom teachers instead. The cuts would also scale back on foreign language and technology education in middle schools. In all, the cuts would eliminate 57 teaching positions.
“To hear that they’re going to give that up as well as physical education, with all the obesity we have in this country, that’s not a good thing,” said Karen Cooley of Drexel Hill.
“They’re taking away all foreign languages and technology,” said student Tim Campbell. “I think it’s ridiculous.”
“I’m really upset,” said 5th grader Michaela Cooley with tears falling down her face. “When I go to Middle School we’re losing foreign languages.”
The school board says the cuts need to be made in order to slash $4 million from the school budget. They held a preliminary budget meeting Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center where they laid out their tentative final budget plans. The board initially said the cuts were part of academic realignment to improve student test scores. On Tuesday they claimed the district did not have enough funding for the cuts to be avoided. They will not vote on the measure however until they hear from the public.
The next board meeting takes place next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., according to the Delco Times. The Times also reports the public hearing on the budget is set for 7:30 p.m. on May 23 at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.