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Southeastern PA

Hundreds of students protest teacher cuts with walkout

Hundreds of students protest teacher cuts with walkout

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - Hundreds of students at a Montgomery County high school staged a walk-out Friday morning.

The massive effort was to protest proposed teacher cuts and other services throughout the district on the budget chopping block.

The Perkiomen Valley School District has a nearly $3-million budget gap.

Officials have proposed increasing class sizes and eliminating teachers and staff.

Friday, students at Perkiomen Valley High School walked out of classes to send a message.

Just before first period, the steady stream started.

More than 500 students poured from the building, marching with signs and school pride to a nearby baseball field.

"We're here for all of our staff members," announced Cassidy Mattiola. "Our PV school is our family, it's our community and this is the core of what makes our school such an amazing place to be."

Currently, four aides, multiple coaches and three core subject teachers could loose their jobs at the high school level if this proposed budget passes.

"The decisions that the school board is looking at now are not easy ones to make," explained Jessica Lester, manager for School and Community Engagement for the district.

She says these cuts are the latest setback in a series of challenging years.

School administrators have been helping students understand the process so they can be heard.

"We respect their right to express themselves and thought it was important to honor that by allowing them to hold the walkout," shared Lester.

Most students stayed outside in protest until 10:30 a.m.

Organizers hope the demonstration will inspire others to get involved, and hopefully save some jobs.

"We need to let the board know how we feel about this," Mattiola added. "And we won't let our teachers be cut."

Students have also launched a petition on that has nearly 1,700 signatures.

"We're just gonna continue to spread the word and hopefully we can petition the state legislature," said Sean Moriarity.

The Board of School Directors are set to meet again Monday, May 12 to discuss the budget, and students say they plan to be there in force.

The school board president tells 69 News she applauds the student's efforts, and says members are contacting state representatives.

The final budget will be voted on in June.

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