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Allentown parents rally together to face budget crunch

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 20 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 22 2013 07:26:31 AM CDT

Allentown School District Budget Crunch

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A desperate cry, in desperate times.

"I feel very frustrated," said Allentown parent Allissa Stout.

"It's just not fair," lamented first grade teacher Jennifer Black.

About 150 concerned teachers, parents and local leaders rallied Sunday against Allentown School District's proposed budget cuts, and the slashes the district calls solutions.

"My school is losing our full time principal," explained Black.  "Our principal is being downgraded and then moved out essentially. We're then going to be sharing a principal with another school."

"They only have nine classes right now of art, music, phys ed and library throughout the entire year, just nine classes of each discipline," added health and physical education teacher Lisa Miller.  "They're proposing to take even that away."

Major cuts were announced at the beginning of March to help fill a $22.4-million budget gap. 

More than 140 teacher and administrative positions are on the chopping block along with numerous programs.  It's something this group says it won't take lying down.

"We just want things to be saved in our school," shared Black.  "We want our kids to have the same opportunity that other kids have in other districts."

"I'm a parent supporting our teachers," said Yahaira Aviles-Washington.  "I think it's crucial to have our education as it currently stands get better not deteriorate."

For two hours they rallied, chanting, and passing around petitions, vowing they won't stop here.

"This is very important," urged Stout.  "They should support the school district, go to the board meetings, voice their opinions because the opinions count."

The next Allentown School Board meeting is set for Thursday night.