VICTORIA -- Students and teachers are protesting budget cuts that are threatening music programming at a Saanich middle school.

Approximately three-dozen students were outside Lansdowne Middle School’s south campus on Monday morning.

Teachers and parents at the school say the Greater Victoria School District’s latest budget proposal reveals a $7-million deficit that administrators are looking to partially recoup by cutting $1.3 million in music teacher positions.

The budget proposes $1.02 million in savings by cutting nine middle school band teachers and 2.7 middle school strings and choir positions in the district. The budget also proposes adding 2.4 teaching positions for Grade 8 band programs.

Students outside Lansdowne on Monday told CTV News that music programming is the highlight of their day.

In a letter to parents, three Lansdowne music teachers say the school’s program would lose at least two – if not all three – teaching positions under the budget plan.

“Only a year ago our program consisted of six concert bands, two choirs, two jazz bands, three string ensembles, and a full orchestra impacting over 350 students,” the teachers wrote. “Next year, with what the district is recommending, the program will only be able to offer Band 8 to approximately 60 students.”

The school district board is still deliberating its budget for the coming school year. A budget survey is open to the school community to provide input on the proposal until 4 p.m. Monday.