Students at two Syracuse public schools have cancelled classes to protest the school board’s decision to cancel a public meeting to discuss budget cuts, including a $1.5 million cut to the arts and a $20 million cut in the science curriculum.
On Thursday, students at the Yonyeo Middle School in the Bronx and the YNYC School in Rochester were told by the school’s director that they had two days off to attend a community meeting to protest what they say are budget cuts.
The meeting is being held as part of the budget talks that are taking place in Albany.
The district is also cutting back on other programs and services, including funding for special education.
Syracuse Public Schools superintendent Mary Beth Azzopardi says the school district has received a $2.5M budget reduction that would have cut $2M from its arts and science program.
Students at the schools also protested the school meeting on Wednesday.
Yonyeos parent group, Students for Public Education, said it will hold a rally in front of the YMCAS in Syracuse on Saturday, November 7.
The district’s board voted in November to eliminate all programs and programs in the arts, including the arts program, and to eliminate funding for all science and engineering programs.
Students for Public Educatioy said the board voted to cut funding for the arts because the district had cut funding in those programs for more than 20 years.
The school board is also facing a $200 million budget cut and is considering a $30 million cut.
Students say the board is taking a step backward in its fight for funding, saying the cuts would affect students who attend schools that provide arts, social services, health care and nutrition services.
Sylvia Police Chief Joseph Mancini says the district is cutting the arts programs and other programs because they are not as effective and important to students as they once were.
He says that the cuts are part of a strategy to cut the district’s $200,000 budget.
Mancini told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that he was unaware of any plans to cut programs.
The Yonyeeo community was outraged by the board’s actions.
Students were also upset with the fact that the board did not consider the effects of the cuts on their community.
Yanyeo residents also are concerned about the school budget cuts and are calling for action.
“It is not just a one-day-a-week event.
It is going to affect students in all of the different districts, and it’s going to impact us as a community as well,” said Yanyeos principal Melissa Molloy.”
The school district should be focusing on the needs of the students and not the needs in our community,” said student Stephanie Neely.