The fate of Portland Public Schools' only Latin program hinges on the number of full-time teaching positions Grant High School needs to cut next school year, to the alarm of students and parents.
Eleven PPS schools, including most high schools, are slated for relatively big staffing cuts under Superintendent Vicki Phillips' proposed budget because of a projected drop in enrollment.
This week, Principal Toni Hunter told educators and parents that the Northeast Portland school was poised to lose four full-time slots next school year.
Hunter did not return telephone messages Thursday, but a district spokeswoman said Latin is among the programs that could be cut.
"It certainly is under consideration, but a decision has not been made," said Katie Essick, a district spokeswoman.
Grant's program is the only one in the district and one of eight in the state, said Gene Evans, a spokesman with the state Department of Education.
"I would say that a lot of parents are concerned," said Sarah Krakauer, whose freshman son takes the class.
Parents say teacher Pam Brown has been with the program for about 30 years and will retire at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, student and parent supporters say Latin's demise would end a tradition that has set Grant apart from other high schools.
"None of the students are happy about this," said Grant senior Sarah Lazeroni, who studied Latin at the school for two years. "If Latin is canceled, there is going to be an uproar."
Students recently circulated petitions and donned stickers supporting Latin, Krakauer said.
Hunter told parents at a recent meeting that Latin might be spared for at least another year under another proposal that would have the school lose only two teaching positions, said Laurie Sykes, whose son takes Latin.