Upper Darby in uproar over school budget cuts
UPPER DARBY, Pa. - May 23, 2012 (WPVI) -- School officials are hoping they will be able to take a giant eraser to previously proposed budget cuts.
It was a fluid situation at the school board meeting Wednesday night.
The school board is hoping that Harrisburg is listening and has decided not to vote on cutting any programs until after the legislature approves and the Governor signs a new state budget in June.
In the meantime, residents have launched a full-court press to urge Harrisburg to save elementary and middle school programs.
After the district proposed cutting art, music, library, gym and technology programs from elementary and middle schools to save $4 million, residents declared a battle to keep that from happening.
"Save Upper Darby Arts" signs were scattered around area neighborhoods. Neighbors made social network pages and launched the website saveudarts.org that features a short film on why these programs need to be saved.
"By limiting the full range of human experiences for our children, we fail to provide our children with an education of the highest quality; an American education," the film's announcer could be heard saying.
Colleen Kennedy is one of the creators of the website, and a leader in the battle.
"We just know that the best programs in Upper Darby are the ones that are at stake right now, so we need to start fighting to keep those for the next generation," Colleen said.
Pennsylvania is not the only state struggling with school budget cuts in the wake of the recession. California has a record 188 school districts in financial jeopardy, along with Alabama, Illinois and Florida just to name a few.
But many in Upper Darby believe cutting their music programs in particular would be reckless.
"I think it's bigger than just the budget cuts," said Jackie Muldoon. "I think it's a community wide issue, I think everybody just needs to come together and find a solution."
"I think we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how the funding is handled up in Harrisburg for Pennsylvania," said parent Lee Jordan.
As for the students that would be affected?
"I wouldn't want to come to school, because I look forward to seeing all my friends there every day," said Christina Wallace, who is a member of the school band and choir.
"It's going to be a lot different because school is just not learning about the basics like math, reading and social studies, but it's also about getting diversity," said Grace Muldoon.
Organizers of the efforts to save the programs are planning to march on Harrisburg to deliver a petition with 30,000 signatures they hope to have by May 30th.Link:
school, children, education, upper darby, harrisburg, pennsylvania, local/state, dann cuellar
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