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?