Belvidere Farewells and Hopes

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Right now, Belvidere students, parents and teachers are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. The Belvidere Bucs are still hoping to keep their favorite activities alive.
The beating drums of Belvidere's marching band may soon stop. The football team may have to drop the ball and the curtain could fall on plays and musicals. Many say taking away those activities would take the heartbeat out of the school.
"It's just going to be boring. It's let's just go to school and not do anything, get homework and not have anything to look forward to," says Belvidere Sophomore Carly Holmes.
That will be the case if the school board officially cuts all sports, clubs and after school arts programs. They're expected to do so this Tuesday in a special meeting.
They need to make up $2.8 million dollars in operating costs for a new high school since a fall referendum failed.
"I've heard rumors that they're trying to regroup and say how we can get a referendum that will pass and save all these," says football coach Mike Hearn.
If the cuts go through, students worry how they'll match up on the college application scoreboard.
"It will look bad on our college applications that we can't say we were part of clubs like other schools."
For some, cuts could spell the end of scholarship hopes.
"A lot of schools really respect Belvidere's program and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened in my senior year, if I would have gotten any scholarship offers," says junior Kyle Tevaugh.
Teachers say once the board makes its final decisions, they'll rally hard for an April referendum, until then it's rough times at Belvidere High.
"It's hard to stay positive, tell the kids everything's going to be all right, when in your heart of hearts, you really don't know if everything's going to be all right," says theater director Dan Holmes.
Some parents say they think the fall referendum failed because it lumped funding for two new elementary schools in with the operating costs for the New Belvidere East High School, that added up to a 65-cent tax increase that people said was too much.
Some says let's just raise taxes enough to cover the new high school now -- that would be a 35-cent increase -- and we'll deal with other costs later on.