Parents and teachers rally to stop budget cuts at an Ann Arbor high school before they're permanent

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - Parents and teachers rallied in Ann Arbor to try to stop budget cuts from happening before the board of education makes some big changes within the district. 

There were easily over 100 parents and teachers at the meeting at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School and they were not afraid to tell the school board to find another solution to the district's budget problems.

"Why Pioneer?" asked one parent. "Why us?" became the biggest question from parents at the meeting.

The district's administration seems to be looking at Pioneer High School to take the brunt of the cuts to help the Ann Arbor Public Schools make up an $18 million dollar budget shortfall next year.

"We just want our kids to have the best possible education," said Boz Malik.  His family just moved from Washington D.C. and he has a daughter who started at Pioneer this year.

Some of the suggested cuts include eliminating the seventh hour option at Pioneer and Huron High Schools and eliminating or reducing funding for Pioneer's theatre guild. The biggest point of contention seemed to be moving the 90 students from Roberto Clemente, an alternative high school into a wing at Pioneer.

Parents worried overcrowding will lead to bigger class sizes. Some students worry how other students would be affected by bringing in another high school.

"You change the dynamic of the school by bringing in these other kids. You lose a sense of that identity and that school pride. Because you are not just Pioneer, we are also Roberto Clemente.  And the Clemente kids they won't have their own building anymore." said Colin Darnton, a senior and member of the student council at Pioneer. 

It turns out the administration looked at Pioneer's size in relation to other schools when suggesting adding more students.

Other ways the district is looking to save cash is by cutting sports at all the high schools or making them pay to play.

The Vice President of the school board Christine Stead said that she heard the concerns from parents and faculty Tuesday night and they will definitely take them into consideration when making their decisions. 

She also said that board members had some of their own solutions they could offer to help with the budget deficit.

The school board members meet Wednesday night with formal recommendations from the administration.  They have until June to make their final decisions.

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