Parents rally to save music, teacher pay at Renaissance High School

DETROIT - Within the walls of Renaissance High School, there's a fight among parents to ensure the school continues to deliver the well-rounded education its name suggests.

Dozens of parents gathered in a closed meeting to brainstorm ways to keep district cuts at bay - cuts that threaten to end the school's famed music program and put up to 43 students in each classroom.

L'Tanya Toliver said she's fighting for her daughter, who will be a junior at Renaissance this fall. She is on the honor roll.

"She needs all that support from her school that she attends to be able to succeed, to be able to go to the university that she wants to," Toliver said.

Students take an entrance exam to walk the halls at Renaissance High School. Known for its strong academics, the school is the pride of Detroit Public Schools. But parents like Toliver are worried larger classroom sizes and teacher pay cuts will sell their children short of a good education.

"We want the opportunity to let our children have a band, we want our children to have dance, we want our children to get the fulfillment of the education that they should get, that they deserve," Tolliver said.

The cuts don't bode well for parents whose children are just entering their freshman year. Sylvester McIntosh said he let his daughter choose Renaissance over private school - that was before he learned about impending cuts.

"This is one school where kids are achieving at a very high level. and as a parent, I just want to see that continue, especially because my daughter's going here," McIntosh said.

Parents are now taking the helm in grassroots efforts to raise funds, asking local and state leaders and corporate sponsors to invest in the education of their children.

Toliver said, "We're going to hit the ground. we're fundraising. We're going to hit the ground and we're asking everyone to help us."

The district had no statement in response to Monday night's parent session.

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