GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio - Saying its schools are at the "most critical crossroads" in its history, Garfield Heights is planning to severely cut several school programs and shorten school days.
It's not only affecting students and parents, it hits the community hard in other areas as well.
At Elmwood Elementary, music students are learning the 12 days of Christmas. But music classes in kindergarten through fifth grade are among several school programs being eliminated, according to a letter that has just been sent out to parents by school officials.
School Superintendent Linda Reid said no new property tax-supported operating money has come in since 1992, and five school levy attempts have failed. Plus, the district's performance index is one of the lowest in the state.
So, elementary art classes will also be cut, as will library programs and physical education.
Because of the cuts, parent Kristina Nicholson might take her son out of Elmwood.
"It makes me mad,” Nicholson told NewsChannel5’s Scott Newell. “It really does, because I feel he needs to have the education and he's not getting it."
The programs cut in elementary schools will also be "greatly" reduced in the middle school, and students who get a free lunch in grades K-8 will get it at the end of the school day -- a bagged lunch to go.
The high school day will be cut to 6 hours, and elementary and middle school classes shortened as well. Some will get out as early as 1:10 p.m.
That will mean Garfield Heights police will bring in extra traffic patrols.
“We would anticipate there would be some traffic issues, especially around the elementary schools," said Garfield Heights Police Chief Bob Sackett.
Police are not the only ones affected. Crossing guards may have their schedules adjusted, too.
"They can't do nothing if they don't have the money,” said crossing guard Dan Shelton. “They have to cut."
The shorter school days begin January 17, 2012.
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