Students protest possible budget cuts in Independence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students protest possible budget cuts in Independence

INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -- On Wednesday morning around a hundred high school students skipped class to protest the changes coming to their school.

It's an issue you can find at a number of schools around the state, declining enrollment and tighter budgets, and administrators trying to make up the difference.  The solution is often getting rid of programs and sometimes jobs. 

In Independence, administrators have to cut approximately $750,000 from spending for the 2009 - 2010 school year and it may have to cut even more money after that.

Students faced the bitter cold to march against a proposal that would change their school forever. Independence school administrators have announced plans to eliminate around 13 full-time positions and cut a number of popular programs.

"A lot of the programs that they are cutting are essential to the prosperity of our school and programs like Industrial Tech and band and English, those are things Independence is really well known for and I would hate to see us lose that.  If that happens we would lose the appeal of our school," Independence Senior Kelly Sebetka said.

School officials say they have been hit by a perfect storm and have no other choice than to make drastic cuts.

"We've had a declining enrollment for, I believe for 12 consecutive years and we are at the point we have nothing left, we're looking at people. Eighty percent of our budget is made up of staff with salaries and benefits and there is really no other place to go then staff at this point," Superintendent Devin Embray said.

"We personally can't come up with a new budget plan, we're just high schoolers, but we need help and this is a way to show our community that we really do care about our education and we want them to help us. We want them to support us and we will fight for it," Senior Mari Butler said. Online Producer: John Wilmer

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