Hundreds of music students from across the Greater Victoria School District took to the streets to protest program cuts Thursday afternoon.
It was the biggest and latest push back against the Greater Victoria School District’s proposal to cut music programs in order to slash their $7-million dollar deficit for the 2021-2022 school year.
Students from over 10 schools took part, including Grade 11 Mount Douglas student Amelia Croft.
“It’s everything to me,” Croft told CHEK News, adding that the school district would be crushing her dreams if they go through with the cuts.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and what I believe we all like to do and you’re playing with our futures.”
Croft’s friend and classmate, Juha In echoed those sentiments and says many can’t afford private lessons.
“School is a place to learn and some students really really look forward to the music programs because they can’t afford their own private music education,” said In.
Early literacy, meal programs and educational assistants, among others, are also on the chopping block.
During the unveiling of the provincial budget on Tuesday, the Government announced a $1.2-billion cash injection to B.C. schools, possibly offering a glimmer of hope, but the school district doesn’t see it that way.
“While we won’t know for sure until numbers roll out to school districts, it’s looking like we’re not going to be seeing increases that would make a big difference against our budget deficit,” said Board Chair Jordan Watters.
However, concerned parents are pleading to decision-makers to find a way to keep these programs alive.
“Please find money somewhere, please find a way to not take this away,” said Central Middle School Parent Sarah Patton.
“There’s got to be other ways to find that money than cutting this great part of joy for children who have already been through so much.”
A final budget decision will be made on May 17.