School District, Teachers and Parents Debate Cuts - 8 News NOW

Amanda Hernandez, Reporter

School District, Teachers and Parents Debate Cuts

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The school district thought it was done with cuts for at least the current school year but now they are being asked to look into cutting deeper -- up to $75 million deeper.

So they are working with parents and staff and making a list of what should absolutely not be cut and what can they live without.

Parents, students and staff filled the gym, all having ringside seats for round four of budget cuts.

"We had been told that we would probably not have anymore cuts this year. Now that has been changed and we are facing really very significant cuts," said superintendent Dr. Walt Rulffes.

The district is being asked to look into a range of cuts, from four-percent to 11-percent, or up to $75 million.

"It said cuts this year and it made me scared thinking what is going to happen after Christmas break," said teacher Amy Wood.

Wood is joined by many teachers who worry their class sizes could go up to 40 or more students, even in kindergarten classes. Parents fear that beyond the crowded classrooms there will be no extracurricular programs.

"It really provides them with a great educational incentive to keep in school. I've seen my own kids be so rewarded by those programs," said parent Diane Clough.

To many, there's cuts they can't live with. So the district is giving them a chance to voice it. Everyone was given three orange tickets to write a program they want to keep, while also getting three green tickets to elect something to cut. For many the choice were not easy.

"I wish everything was on the keep list. Unfortunately, I understand we are in an economic downturn. I understand things have to be made, cuts have to be made, decisions have to be made," said Wood.

So far athletics, extra curricular programs and small class sizes are topping the list to keep, while proposed cuts are empowerment schools, early retirement incentives and cutting prep periods for high school department chairs.

Some members of the district are also calling for some out-of-the-box ideas for cuts, like moving to a four day school week. But the superintendent of school says that idea so far has not been supported by the community and would actually be illegal by state law.

If you didn't make Tuesday's meeting, another one is being held Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Chaparral High School. It will also be streamed live on the CCSD website.

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