Parents outraged over cuts to PCSSD programs, district blames deseg settlement

SHERWOOD (KATV) - Parentsin turned out in droves Thursday night for an emergency PTA meeting at ClintonElementary Magnet School.{} They're up inarms over potential cuts to programs at their school - cuts to programs thatmake their school a magnet school.

"Don't mess with ourschool," exclaimed one parent speaking out, Thursday night.

But parents say thePulaski County Special School District is messing with their school - cutting bothspeech communication and technology class - two subjects the school specializesin.

"It puts our children at adisadvantage is how we feel," said Tina Lee, concerned parent and Clinton PTAmember.

Dr. Janice Warren,assistant superintendent at PCSSD, isn't happy about the cuts either but saysit's a reality of the ending of desegregation funding to the district.

"The district has nochoice but to cut these programs because that was our source of funding forthese programs," said Warren.

Clinton is not the onlyschool set to lose programs in the 2014-2015 school year.{} PCSSD has identified four major programs in20 of the district's 36 schools that will be cut next year.{} Warren said the programs required "extra-positions"that were created to draw students to the district and were funded withdesegregation money.

But those specializedtechnology and speech communication courses are why Lee chose ClintonElementary for her kids.

"They are learning notjust basic keyboarding skills," said Lee, regarding the school's technologycourse.{} "But how to do a Powerpoint, howto use Excel."

Warren said although thatclass may be going away, that doesn't mean those skills won't be taught inother classes.

"Technology is not goingaway in this school," said Warren.{} "Wehave technology provided in every single classroom."

But those specializedteachers associated with that and the speech communication program will goaway.{} Even though desegregation fundingdoesn't disappear for the next three years, Warren said the district has toplan ahead.

"Certainly the districtcan't wait until that time to start cutting programs," said Warren.

Lee said there has to beother options - grants, fundraising, anything.

"Just give us a chance toat least find a way to fund it if you don't have it in the budget to fund ityourself," said Lee.

On average, two teacherpositions will be eliminated at most PCSSD schools because of the lack ofdesegregation funding.{} But Warren saidwith more than 100 teachers on average retiring every year - those positionswill most likely end up being absorbed by attrition.