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Parents protest proposed cuts in Allentown School District

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: May 06 2013 03:46:55 PM CDT
Updated On: May 07 2013 09:22:58 AM CDT

Many parents in Allentown pulled their children out of class Monday and marched in protest of deep cuts that could hit the city's school district hard.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Many parents in Allentown pulled their children out of class Monday and marched in protest of deep cuts that could hit the city's school district hard.

Close to 100 people marched right up to the administration building's front doors, chanting, "Save Our Schools." They said the proposed cuts will devastate the district.

The rally started at 9th and Hamilton streets and continued down Hamilton to the district's administration office.

"We must come together as a community, unite, stand up, and make sure they hear our voice," said organizer Yahaira Aviles-Washington.

The protesters oppose not only the proposed elimination of 144 teaching positions but also the elimination of art, physical education and music programs.

"One hundred forty-four teachers is detrimental to our school district," added Aviles-Washington. "Not only to our school district but to the future of our children, and as a mother, I just will not allow that to happen."

Parents pulled their children out of class, so they could protest together.

"We're just trying to make a difference. I'm not accepting what is going to happen," said Stephanie Balletta, a concerned parent.

"My daughter likes gym," said Courteney Williams, another concerned parent.  "I want her to play sports. I want her to do that stuff in school, and it's not fair to them."

School district officials caught wind of the protest a few days ago, and in a written statement said, "We have encouraged our parents to keep their students in school and find another way to voice their concerns."

"They know we are here. They see us. They feel us. They hear us, and they can't deny us," Aviles-Washington told the crowd.

Even if the administration ignores their rally cry Monday, the protesters said they will be back.