Two weeks after eliminating the cheerleading program in a broader cost-cutting move, the Hermantown School Board members voted 4-2 Monday night to reinstate it with full funding, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
Northland's News Center reports the Hawks 19-member cheerleading team has been around for more than 60 years.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life knowing I get to cheer another year,” junior Courtney Martin tells the News Tribune.
FOX 21 says 40 people packed the school board meeting.
A Facebook page called “Help SAVE Hermantown Cheerleading”, created in response to the board's original decision to drop the program, quickly reacted to the reinstatement.
The school district is facing a $500,000 budget shortfall. The school board voted on more than $250,000 in budgets cuts, with another slash likely coming next year.. It included ditching the purchase of a new bus, eliminating a first- and second-grade section, and increasing activity fees by $10.
Eliminating the cheer program was part of those reductions. It would have saved the school $2,500.
The squad quickly rallied. First it created a Facebook page, which quickly gathered hundreds of likes. A petition on Change.org gathered nearly 1,000 online signatures. On Friday, team and school mascot held signs outside the school to "Save HHS Hawks Cheer," Northland's News Center reported. The team also urged people to attend Monday's school board meeting; the one which resulted in the elimination being overturned.
According to the News Tribune, one board member acknowledged communication with the cheerleading program prior to the initial vote wasn't good. FOX 21 notes nobody associated with the team was notified of a possible elimination.
According to the News Tribune, the board's Chairman Greg Carlson said he was concerned about the precedent reversing the decision would set; if you don't like a decision, just make some noise and it'll get reinstated.
The school's activities director, Beth Clark, tells the News Tribune cheerleading was cut mainly because the team's adviser is leaving – meaning nobody was losing pay. But says she "doesn't want to cut anything.
"I feel like it's natural to make mistakes,” cheer captain Taylor Grimsbo tells FOX 21. “It's nothing to really worry about as long as you try to fix everything that you can."