On Monday night, current Cicero-North Syracuse senior Corey Barnes spoke to the North Syracuse School Board about the importance of youth sports. Barnes will graduate this spring and will play football for Wagner College next fall - but he worries that future students won't have the opportunities he's had if North Syracuse makes cuts to seventh grade sports.
"To cut these programs at a young age, you're deteriorating when a kid can start working well with others - developing that team aspect of things," said Barnes.
A long list of speakers asked the board to scale back cuts to everything from the library to the high school career center. Parents, staff and students made passionate pleas for why each program - or job - should be saved, even though saving one program would likely mean another would be cut. Several young students spoke about the benefits of music education and why they didn't want to lose it
"I hope they think about it and how much it means to everybody and how other people won't have other opportunities," said Jenna Sherry after speaking to the board.
Erin Deaver knows how painful cuts can be. After teaching for eight years her full time teaching position was eliminated last year and now her part time position at the career center is in danger of being cut.
"The uncertainty is tough too. the roller coaster ride. Do I have a job, don't I? And with it being seniority and I am on the bottom," said Deaver.
The reality of North Syracuse's $12 million budget gap came up in several presentations. One parent argued that the district should cut sports and focus on saving teachers while others said there are no easy answers and just hoped the board would do their best.
"It's a large challenge and I think the more people that step out and speak up - parents and kids- and let the board know what their feelings are, it will help them make an easier choice," said parent Ann Waters.
North Syracuse is still looking for any savings it can find. By consolidating school bus routes and having some students walk a little farther to a bus stop, the district estimates it can save almost $150 thousand a year.
Link to the North Syracuse School District website here