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Proposed Budget Cuts Make A Splash

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

January 19, 2006

Charlottesville's acting school superintendent, Robert Thompson is looking to balance the system's budget. That may include cutting certain programs like the Aquaticc Program at Walker Upper-Elementary, and that has some students and teachers concerned.

For William Byers, teaching swimming in the Charlottesville school system has made the past 30 years fly by.

A proposal by the superintendent to cut the aquatics program at Walker Upper-Elementary has Byers a little worried.

“We could possibly have some drowning accidents, because some of the younger kids who won't get a chance to do this are not going to be exposed to the safety aspect of it,” says Byers.

The 9 week class teaches 5th and 6th graders life-saving swimming techniques every other day for about an hour. Most students enjoy the program and it provides great exercise to some who can't afford private lessons.

"I think it's fun because you get to have free swim, but you still get to learn at the same time," said student Eliza Lane.

"I think they could get rid of something else instead of swimming," added another student.

David Payne had one child finish the program and his other started today. He says the classes reap enormous benefits.

“There are other children who either don't have the assets or don't have the ability to go to private tutors to learn something like that so having [something like this] in the school system is very, very beneficial,” says David Payne.

For Mr. Byers keeping such a beneficial program isn't just about keeping a job, it's also about saving lives.

The School Board members did meet tonight to discuss the budget. Parents, teachers, and students can all give their input on what programs they'd like to keep, like swimming, at another meeting on February 2.


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