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      Parents, students protest possible school cuts

      Facing budget problems, New Bedford's School Committee is considering laying off dozens of staff members, cutting programs and even closing schools.

      Parents and students protested the possible cuts ahead of a School Committee meeting Monday. Many of them are particularly upset about plans to cut music and art programs.

      The School Committee has been talking about cutting 250 jobs, about 100 of them being teachers. Some committee members have proposed closing schools as an alternative.

      But opponents say that will drive up class size and increase busing costs.

      The budget problem stems, in large part, from a mistake discovered earlier this year in which 55 jobs, including one principal, were not included in the budget numbers.

      New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who also heads the school board, has previously said that the cuts are necessary to get the district on the right track.