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Published: Wednesday, 3/17/2010

700 pack auditorium to discuss proposed TPS cuts


About 700 people packed the Start High School auditorium Wednesday night to voice opinions about a slate of proposed cuts to the Toledo Public Schools budget.

The five Toledo Board of Education members sat at a table on the stage as about 90 people spoke for two minutes apiece.

On the list of proposed cuts is closing several schools, restricting bus service, and eliminating all school sports.

Some speakers said they supported a 0.75 percent income tax levy that school board members are asking voters to approve May 4 to help close a projected $30 million budget hole projected for next fiscal year.

Others said that members of the administration should be fired.

Parents who spoke threatened to leave the school system and head for charter or parochial schools if the cuts are made.

School officials are negotiating with school district unions this weeks to try to secure millions in savings in salary reductions and adjustments to health-care coverage, officials said.

Whole sections of the 800-person capacity venue were filled with students from some of the targeted institutions, including Toledo Technology Academy, Toledo Early College High School, and Libbey High School.

School leaders also have proposed laying off the 147 elementary school art, music, and physical education specialists. Those subjects would be incorporated into regular classroom instruction.

“Take a moment and think about your own experience in school and remember what it means to be good at something,” said Donna Smith, mother of a second-grade boy at Larchmont Elementary. “These children may never again have formal art instruction and you take away their dream.”

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