Hermantown saves the cheerleaders

Don’t mess with the cheerleaders.

In northeast Minnesota, the Hermantown School Board last night caved to the public outcry it prompted when it cut $2,500 from the cheerleading program. The elimination of two elementary school teachers remains in force, but the cheerleaders are coming back.

School Board Chairman Greg Carlson isn’t happy about reversing a decision about an extracurricular program.

“It’s OK to cut classrooms; just don’t cut extracurriculars,” he said, according to the Duluth News Tribune. “All we have to do is fill up the boardroom and they’ll get reinstated.”

Cheerleaders worked to raise more than $1,000 in efforts to pay for the program, and also began an online petition and a physical petition at school. Together they garnered about 1,300 signatures.

Senior cheerleader Taylor Grimsbo said she thinks the decision came so quickly because of the large number of supporters for the students.

The students put in a lot of work in the last couple of weeks to save their program, said junior Courtney Martin.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life knowing I get to cheer another year,” she said.

The controversy fueled an ongoing debate: When schools are cutting, what is the value of extracurricular programs?

  • My old high school would cut science before it cut football.

  • Jim G

    About 70% of expenditures in school districts go to personnel and most of those are teachers. Cutting two elementary classrooms is a huge hit for a small district like Hermantown and will affect many more kids’ education than the targeted extra-curricular program. As unfortunate as these cuts are, they highlight the funding gap between our smaller rural districts and the large, richer suburban/urban ones. All of our students are entitled to a comparable and effective public education. It’s time to provide the necessary funding to close these gaps.

  • jon

    When I Was in Jr. high they threatened to cut band and orchestra… PTA had none of it.

    Instead they cut sports. In retrospect it was a very odd thing for a blue collar neighborhood to do, but the band parents put up a much better argument than the sports parents (many of whom didn’t bother to get involved).

    a year later the band started competing at regional band competitions, the next year they started winning, when we moved no one dared talk about cutting music in the school.

    Sports and band were a level footing in the high school, (I did not participate in band any more at that age) though the band had a lot more trophies in their display case… probably because at least one feeder school put more emphasis on band that on football.

  • JDan

    Compare the numbers it probably saved well over $100,000 to cut the two teachers and have slightly higher classroom numbers. The cheerleading program was only costing the school $2,500 do the math. If there is outcry one is able to be overcome the other not so much.