Students and parents in Knox County are now writing letters to their school board members concerning the upcoming budget vote for all of 2019.

This is a new method they're using to ask the school board not to cut funding for Project GRAD, the magnet program, or the gifted (GTE) program.

"The mail will be a little full this week," said Vivian Shipe, who wrote several letters to school board members on Sunday.

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"Please do not de-fund Project GRAD," Shipe's letter read. "Keep funding GRAD, the magnet program and Gifted and Talented Education. All children are important. Please help our children's future."

Shipe is one of the hundreds of people who attended last week's over-packed school board meetings to defend funding for these three programs.

Now she's encouraging everyone to take their passion for schools to pen and paper.

"When you take the time to write a letter, what you're doing is you're saying my time is valuable and this issue is important to me," said Shipe.

She believes eliminated funding for the three programs will hurt students, like 12-year-old Josh Martinez.

"This is not right," said Martinez. "We are not going to stand back and let all our funds be just taken away."

Josh is a fifth grader in the gifted program at Cedar Bluff Elementary School.

In his three years in the program, Josh said he's been able to create new projects and ideas to help the community.

He wants other kids to experience that, too.

"My brother is in third grade and he is in [the gifted program] and knowing that he won't be able to get those next two years of experience is just very sad," said Josh.

That's why he and Shipe are writing to their school board members, and hope other kids will, too.

"I think that if she hears the words of a fifth grader that is actually in GTE i think she'll know more of like what it feels like," Josh said of his district's school board member.

"People are listening and you have to understand Knoxville is awake," said Shipe. "And we gonna stay woke."

The school board is still working to come up with the best solution for their budget. They will vote on the budget on April 30.