NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Hundreds of Northampton High School students rallied to protest a series of cuts slated for their school system.
Last month, Northampton Superintendent of Schools Brian Salzer, announced the system was facing a $1.2 million budget gap. Among the recommended solutions are teacher layoffs and cutting programs.
In response, students held a rally for creativity on Wednesday.
"[It's] a really positive protest, it's in support of the arts and creativity in Northampton schools, not against anyone or any teacher or the administration," said Jillian Hanson, whose daughter is a junior at the high school.
More than 200 students met in front of Northampton High School and walked towards Pulaski Park. They were joined by their moms, their dads and even their dogs. They rallied to save the classes they love the most.
"I love the music and the theater programs. The teachers are amazing, like Beau Flahive, Deb Coon. They both are getting cut down significantly and they've been teaching here for years and years and are fantastic teachers," said Dana Hanson, a Northampton High junior.
Once they got there, they played music, sang and even painted. "I just thought it'd be kind of fun to bring a portable easel and get people to paint whatever they want," said Northampton High Sophomore Riandeau Witmer.
It was all in an effort to get their community to take action. Salzer says closing the gap will take cutting art programs and possibly laying off more than two dozens teachers and staff. He also attended the rally and says the cuts are a tough choice.
"We have to have 990 hours of education for our students. And it has to be mainly focused in the core academics. So unfortunately all of the elective areas are the ones that become vulnerable to budget cuts," said Salzer on Main Street Wednesday afternoon.
After two years of working as the head of the city's schools, Salzer announced he'll resign this summer to take a job as a principal in Berlin, Germany. He says their only hope to close this gap is by approving a proposition 2 1/2 override.