Allentown School Board met with parent rally

Author: , Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published: Apr 25 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2013 06:32:42 AM EDT
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

More than a hundred jobs are on the chopping block in the Allentown School District.

Dozens of people packed Thursday night's school board meeting to sound off on the proposed budget cuts.

As many as 144 positions are on the chopping block as the district looks to fill a $22 million budget gap.

Even though the budget wasn't even on Thursday night's agenda people still came out to voice their opinions.

The proposed budget cuts to education programs and possible layoffs to teachers within the Allentown School District have many worried.

From students concerned about the potential of bigger class sizes to parents who have counted on essential programs like ESL or English as a Second Language for their children, almost everyone has a concern.

"With 45 minutes, five days a week, you can't teach 40 kids in a classroom, it's impossible. They're struggling now," said one student.

"The reality is that it would traumatize kids who've just arrived into the country. It would be extremely hard to enter classes that are 100 percent in English," said a parent.

Bruce Cody, who lost his job with the district due to budget cuts last year, says he's been coming to every single meeting to see where school officials stand.

"They've got a big task and they've got jobs to do, it's not just an Allentown problem because most things that happen in Allentown affect the outskirts as well," he said.

Allen Trump who comes from a family of musicians agrees and fears what a cut in music programs might mean for the community.

"If they cut the music programs, in five years there may be no high school bands which would mean probably no Halloween parades, no St. Patty's parades - none of that stuff for the people to go and enjoy," said Trump.

A spokeswoman with the district tells me the budget cuts are still proposals and they'll have to wait for the governor's budget to be approved before making any decisions -- that may not happen until June.