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Parents, Students Blindsided by Budget Cuts

IOWA CITY, IA - (CBS2/FOX28) A packed house and passionate speeches took over the district headquarters Tuesday night as parents, students and teachers tried to convince the Iowa City School Board to step in and stop more than $3.6 Million in budget cuts.

On the chopping block are a variety of programs from middle school music and 4th grade orchestra to some foreign language programs and 7th grade football. The administration says the cuts are necessary and final, but members of the school board could still choose to override that decision.

Several foreign language students came dressed in bright red t-shirts sporting yellow letters that said Save Iowa City German. One of them, Neve Heimer-Lang, stepped to the microphone to plead with the board, " If you cut German that's just going to leave us with two languages kids will have the option of taking .. thats better than one or none .. but it's a big deal."

Phil Hemingway didn't mince words, " How in the Hell is it cheaper .. excuse my English .. how in the heck is it cheaper to send a student to the University of Iowa to take German than to do it in our own schools if we're maintaining the teachers."

Librarian Ann Marie Kraus told the board she realizes the theme in schools is to do more with less, but not at the expense of a good education, " This is short-sighted .. the reality is students get less for less."

Music professor Anthony Arnone came to the mic with his cello, announced he would leave the speeches to those who are much more eloquent and then used his three minutes of allotted time to play music as a reminder of how it enriches lives.

The parent of two Iowa City students, Dieter Friton, says he's not convinced the children and parents changed any minds, but he's still hopeful, " It was really frustrating for me as a parent .. i mean I'm really proud of those kids for what they did now it's time for the school board to step up and do their job. "

The Iowa City School Board is expected to discuss the budget cuts at least one more time at its May 13th meeting.

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