Bristol students, teachers fight for programs amid potential cut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bristol students, teachers fight for programs amid potential cuts

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Parents and students filled the meeting on Thursday, fighting to keep programs like band and art off the chopping block. (WFSB) Parents and students filled the meeting on Thursday, fighting to keep programs like band and art off the chopping block. (WFSB)
BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) -

On Thursday, Bristol Public Schools got one step closer to deciding what will be cut next year.

The district is facing a $1 million shortfall, and the Board of Education did not vote on a budget on Thursday, but there will be cuts coming to the district.

Parents and students filled the meeting on Thursday, fighting to keep programs like band and art off the chopping block.

“I am absolutely shocked. We were not given a lot of notice about this at all,” said Bristol Eastern Band Director Amy Dauphinais.

“I think it's outrageous how they always target band,” said student Matt Girard.

There has been talk of not replacing some positions, and eliminating some stipends for band and drama teachers.

“People that work in those programs were potentially going to be cut but it doesn't sound like the board that interested,” said Christopher Wilson, who sits on the Board of Education.

The district said it will first focus on figuring out how many teachers will be retiring, or retiring this year.

The district hopes to save more than $500,000 by not filling those positions.

“There was hope that we were going to have more retirements which would free up more resources,” Wilson said.

While no decision was made on Thursday night on exactly what to cut, students vow to make their voices heard even on their summer vacation.

“I think they should reconsider their budget proposal. I'm going to continue to go to the board meetings. I'm going to continue protesting,” Girard said.

Even once the board approves the cuts, there could be even more cuts coming because of rising costs for transportation and special education.

The next meeting will likely be in June.

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