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Budget Crisis at Oswego High School Has Students, Parents Pleading

Hundreds attended a school board meeting at Oswego East High School Monday night as District 308 faces a massive budget crisis. Parents and students sounded off about a proposal to possibly eliminate some teachers and programs.

"I am asking you to reconsider budget reductions impacting fine arts and reading specialists," one parent in attendance told board members.

Other parents, students and community members made passionate pleas to the board about what should be spared in the upcoming budget cuts.

The district is facing a crisis and needs to cut $3 million to balance next year's budget and a total of $8 million to avoid a deficit moving forward.

"Our job now is to get district on sound financial track and mitigate risk of going bankrupt if we do nothing," said board president Brad Banks.

Parents and students are concerned where those cuts will be made.

"I speak for all-- these clubs mean the world to us," one student in the audience said at the meeting.

The district says rumored widespread cuts to extracurricular programs are not true but at this point, all options remain on the table--including cuts to staffing, sports, clubs and elective courses.

The goal--to make sure all voices are heard.

"This board wants this to be owned by community," said district spokeswoman Teresa Komitas. "Not just a Band-Aid year by year."

An additional 500 people have weighed in on the process using an online suggestion box.

The district initially hoped to approve a comprehensive budget plan at the end of January but now says that deadline is not realistic.

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