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TOMOYA SHIMURA, DAILY PRESS
PUBLIC HEARING: University Preparatory cadets Vincent Weimer, left, and Terence Billingsley listen to Victor Valley Unified High School District Board members speak during Thursday's public hearing in Victorville. The University Prep Cadet Corps is one of the student programs the board is considering eliminating due to the district's budget woes.

Students plead for VVUHSD not to cut programs

An honor roll student at Silverado High School, James Konoske has dreamed of studying at Stanford University since third grade.

But the sophomore may have to delete an important selling point from his college application. The Silverado boys tennis team, which Konoske is a member of and has won the last three Desert Sky League titles, is on the verge of elimination due to the school district’s budget woes.

“Without tennis, I personally feel like I won’t be able to meet that goal because other students around the nation are more qualified than I would (be),” Konoske told the Victor Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees. “However, those students have more opportunities and it’s not fair to think I have fewer opportunities because of something I have no control of.”

Konoske and six other Silverado tennis players attended Thursday evening’s board meeting to plead not to cut their program. Cadet Corps students from University Preparatory School also spoke up because they had been notified that their program is also in jeopardy.

“Many of them are outraged and parents are upset about this,” said Vincent Weimer, a 15-year-old cadet at University Prep. The parents are forming a coalition to save the program, he said.

The proposed cuts came as VVUHSD faces fiscal insolvency.

District superintendent Elvin Momon said the problem resulted from multiple causes including the bad economy and poor decisions made by past administrators. The district has about $75 million in bond debt it has to pay back, Momon said.

The district is negotiating with teachers unions about layoffs, while discussing the elimination of some student programs. No cuts have been finalized, Momon said.

“What we are trying to do is save us from going insolvent,” board member Derek King said. “If the state takes over, they’re going to cut all the programs. What we are trying to do is salvage as much as possible and rectify the situation we are in.”

Konoske and other Silverado tennis players are in a limbo as their regular season starts at the end of February.

Players from Granite Hills High School, Silverado’s rival in the league, showed up at Thursday’s meeting to express their support for Silverado. The president of the High Desert Tennis Association also addressed support to the board.

“After this, I am hopeful,” Konoske said after the meeting.

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