The Scottsdale Unified School District faces a $9.7 million budget deficit, but parents and teachers were saying no cuts should be made to classrooms or teachers. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Mike Norton, a parent of a Scottsdale student, says the district has been spending less in classroom dollars each year. (Source: CBS 5 News)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -
Scottsdale Unified School District is no different than any other in the state when it comes to budget problems.
SUSD faces a $9.7 million budget deficit, and teachers and parents are quick to tell the school board to cut anywhere but in the classroom.
In a meeting that lasted almost four hours Wednesday, parents, teachers and students jammed the district offices at 44th Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix to persuade the district to spare classrooms from the budget paring knife.
"The classroom dollars have been droppin,g and it has been dropping consistently," said parent Mike Norton."We used to spend 63 percent of the budget in the classroom. Last year we spent 58 percent of the budget in the classroom, and this year we are talking about spending 55 percent or less of the budget in the classroom."
The proposed cuts would be to special courses, such as music, physical education and the arts. Teachers would also take a 1 percent cut in their salaries.
Scottsdale's Band and Strings students brought out their instruments and played music outside the school district office prior to the meeting as a show of support for the programs targeted in the proposal.
The district last year cut $2 million dollars, leaving the overall budget around $185 million.
The cuts this year are expected to be greater, about 5 percent of the overall budget. The proposed cuts, however, hinge on whether the state Legislature makes its own cuts to education.
Parents such as Norton, teachers, and even a local doctor spoke to the board at the end of its regular board meeting Tuesday night.
Most carried the same message: If you need to cut, cut elsewhere, not in the classroom.
The board made no immediate decision, and a budget was not initially on the meeting agenda, but people were able to speak during an open forum.
Board members had no comment, and CBS 5 News learned that a budget committee will be made aware of Tuesday night's comments.
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