Davis Students Protesting Budget Cuts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Davis Students Protesting Budget Cuts

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Many schools in Yakima are getting upgrades and new additions, including Davis High School, but not all  students are happy with the situation.

Students were visibly upset and angry today after they say they heard about new construction bids for Davis High School - they say they were promised a new and improved auditorium and now, they think all they're getting out of the deal is a new carpet and a paint job.

At least 70 Davis High School students paraded around downtown today waving signs that read "the arts matter too" and "don't count us out." 

"We're trying to get them to rethink, reevaluate, and maybe distribute their money in a more equitable way so that we can get what we deserve so our building does not fall apart," said Livia Petzinger, a student at DHS.

Students say they were promised a completely re-modeled performing arts center, but when the school district realized all the proposed renovations would put them several million dollars over budget, students say the district took performing arts off the plan.

"We want toilets that flush. We want a water fountain. We want a wall that doesn't have a crack in it. We don't want a huge glass auditorium front," said Petzinger.

"I want to see it be more of a place you want to be in. It looks presentable. I want it to be able to be, like the mold on the walls that can't be good," said another protester.

Many of the students were very emotional today, as they feel like they got the short end of the stick.

"It's like they really don't care at all. Like I came here, and I didn't have confidence at all when I came. And I joined choir, I had so much more confidence. I met a whole lot of people," cried one student.

"A lot of the students have grown up in poverty and they're minorities and the message that this is sending is that they're not worth this," said Petzinger.

"Prove that we are pride for Yakima County, and rebuild our school all the way, like you did with Ike and any of the other high schools here," said Ethan Willis, another upset DHS student.

The school district sent out a statement late this afternoon that says the new bid will dedicate $1.8 million to the performing arts center.

The district says they'll try to make more improvements for performing arts if the budget allows, and they have no intention of cutting arts programs.