After School Programs On Chopping Block in Mineral Point

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

They are one of the most iconic figures of high school - the cheerleaders.

"What is a high school without cheerleaders? They can't do that, it's not right, it's not fair," says Mary Haag, advisor of the Mineral Point cheer team.

The 10 members of the cheer team are losing their spirit after hearing of a budget proposal to cut the program.

"I like that it helps me have more confidence in myself," says freshman Abby Gundlach.

"We do a lot of stuff that people don't realize, like behind the scenes work like the runthroughs that the players really like," adds senior Sarah Thompson.

"It's rewarding when you see how these students grow," says Haag.

But the student body isn't growing.

"Our enrollment has dropped by 10% since 2001," says superintendent Terry Hemann.

He says declining enrollment and revenue caps have left them with a budget deficit of half a million dollars.

And cheerleading is only one of about a dozen extra curricular programs on the chopping block.

"All of these programs are good for our kids, our children benefit throughout their life from participating in extra curricular activities."

Hemann says until Wisconsin changes the way it funds education, these types of difficult cuts will continue.

"There is not a program, or staff member, anything that we wish to cut. "

Still students, including the cheerleaders, aren't giving up without a fight.

Before leading cheers at Monday night's basketball game, they led the charge into the school board meeting, where dozens of students and parents asked the board to reconsider cuts to programs that enrich the students' lives and give them something to cheer about.

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