ESCANABA — Eighth grader Tony Flath had no intention of getting involved in a budget cut discussion but when the Escanaba School Board last week looked at the possibility of eliminating Freshmen sports and requiring others to pay to take part in extra curricular activities he felt he had to tell other students what was going on.
“I was really surprised and knew I had to do something about it,” he said.
Tony went home and started a Facebook page called Save Esky Extra Curriculars. It quickly got noticed. He also posted an event on Facebook encouraging people to attend Monday’s regular school board meeting when they will again discuss the budget. Ninety-five people say they are going.
Tony was at the school board meeting last Tuesday because he needed a ride home after driver’s ed. His mother, Gypsia, was at the meeting so he met her there. Gypsia said she felt sorry for her son as he sat and listened to a discussion that would eliminate Freshmen sports at the start of his Freshman year.
“When we got out, we didn’t even get to my car and right away he’s like ‘I got to do something. My friends need to know. People need to know,'” she said. “If he was not at the meeting, he would not have known this. And if I would have explained it to him he probably wouldn’t have gotten the magnitude of the discussion if he had not been there and felt it himself and heard it himself.”
Last Thursday, school superintendent Michelle Lemire posted that Freshmen sports would no longer be considered for elimination. Instead, she said new proposals would be presented to reach the nearly $1 million that needs to be cut in next year’s school budget.
Tony says he is still encouraging people to attend Monday’s meeting.
“Our job isn’t done yet. We still all need to take our ideas and bring them to the board meeting on May 16. We don’t know what else is going to be cut. Something needs to be cut but we still want to give them our ideas,” he said.
The school board meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Escanaba Upper Elementary School.