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March 23, 2010 at 7:42 PM

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Bellevue students organize on Facebook to save arts programs

Posted by Katherine Long

Bellevue students concerned about cuts to the school district's arts programs are organizing on Facebook to try to convince the school board not to cut cherished programs.

More than 1,000 users have become fans of "The Petition to Save Bellevue School District's Arts Programs" on Facebook. The petition reads:

We, as students, parents, and staff of the Bellevue School District, ask the Bellevue School District Fiscal Advisory Committee, Superintendent, and the school board to prevent the reduction of district-wide visual and performing arts programs. We are specifically opposed to the proposed cuts of band, orchestra, music, and visual art from BSD elementary schools. We also oppose shortening the days at BSD middle schools to six periods, because this would leave a large portion of students who wish to enroll in a middle school visual or performing art program unable to do so.

An Interlake High School band member told us the band students will be at Wednesday's budget forum, which begins at 6 p.m. at Interlake High, and plan to play their instruments to emphasize their point.High-school students are concerned about cuts to the elementary- and middle-school programs because if those programs are dropped or cut, students will lose the opportunity to begin learning band instruments at an early age, which could eventually affect the quality of the district's high-school bands.

Faced with up to $6 million in cutbacks, the school district has held two sessions to try to gather input from the public on what programs to cut. Wednesday's budget forum is the last such session before the district's financial advisory committee begins reviewing the feedback. The committee will make a recommendation to the superintendent and school board on how best to trim the budget.

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Video | Get to know Bellevue Blog reporters Nicole Tsong and Katherine Long.