Last month, the Madison School District announced some proposed cuts to its budget, including losses of programs and staff. Tuesday night, the public stepped up to the mic to let the district know how they feel about the potential cuts.
Attendance at the first of two planned budget hearings was lower than expected. But those in attendance at LaFollette High School shared concerns for the future of their schools.
The district wants to make about $7 million in cuts to balance the budget including the elimination of 45 teaching positions and the 4th and 5th grade Strings Program. Along with the proposed cuts, student fees could increase.
Teachers spoke of the hardships they've already endured that eventually get passed along to the students. And students say the failed referendums make them feel like the public doesn't care.
Pat Maniaci, a librarian at John F. Kennedy Elementary School says, "When I first came to the school district, I had 39 hours of clerical help in the library. I'm now down to 9 hours and that's the 9 hours that is being proposed to be cut."
Representing the student opinion, Elzbieta Beck from LaFollette High School says, "The community really doesn't stand behind you. I mean there is this feeling that the schools come last, that we don't want to give our money to you so its, its not a good feeling."
Some in attendance said the district is doing all it can, and pointed the finger at the state legislature, which they say needs to more seriously address the issue of school funding.
The next public hearing on the budget is next Tuesday, May 9th at Memorial High School.