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Keep music in our Fayette schools

To the Fayette County Board of Education: I write as a concerned former Fayette County band student parent, a citizen, and a business owner in Fayette County. I understand you will be voting on a proposal to possibly eliminate fifth-grade band programs and all high school assistant band and orchestra director positions on April 15. I write to voice adamant opposition to what would be a near-sighted approach to fixing budget problems in the school system.

Music education is one of the most valuable tools available to parents, students and our society for providing training in the disciplined pursuit of performing extraordinarily complex tasks.

One piece of evidence to this is that a primarily engineering focused curriculum university such as Georgia Tech maintains a fierce loyalty and commitment to, yes, its music programs.

It is why hundreds of Georgia Tech students, pursuing non-music degrees, spend hours of time each week practicing music for very little college credit. It is why Tech provides multiple performing ensemble opportunities to undergraduate students and offers master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music disciplines.

One thing that should be noted is that the quality of education at the high school level, which ultimately prepares students for the process of a disciplined pursuit of extraordinarily complex tasks, begins at the lower grade levels.

Simply maintaining the fifth-grade programs that mean so much to this process is vital to this enriching experience.

Also, maintaining the multiple levels of support and instruction at the high school level must be protected with no loss of director jobs. Why, one might ask?

Nature Neuroscience magazine: “Students in high-quality school music education programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the community.”

From 2010, Scientific American: “Studies have shown that assiduous instrument training from an early age can help the brain to process sounds better, making it easier to stay focused when absorbing other subjects, from literature to tensor calculus. The musically adept are better able to concentrate on a biology lesson despite the racket in the classroom or, a few years later, to finish a call with a client when a colleague in the next cubicle starts screaming at an underling. They can attend to several things at once in the mental scratch pad called working memory, an essential skill in this era of multitasking.”

Students of the arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board. Data from the College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Reports from 2006–2010 show that students enrolled in fine arts courses score from 11 to 13 percent higher than students not enrolled in any fine arts courses.

Armed with studies and data such as these, one could make the case that high quality and consistent music training is the most important spoke in the well-rounded-education wheel.

Our Fayette County-based business of 15 years, SoundAround Audio/Video, LLC, provides services to the Georgia Music Educator’s Association, the fourth largest music education association in the U.S.

GMEA and their programs are held up to the national spotlight each year as beacons of excellence – Georgia is known nationwide as one of the best places to receive a good foundation in music education.

This has not happened with the wave of some magic wand. It occurs because communities in Georgia such as Fayette County have traditionally seen the wisdom in continuing to invest in music education. At SoundAround we are so committed to this proposition, that we offer four scholarships to worthy GMEA students heading into college. We put some of our very limited funds into growing the music education process.

I might also point out that our small business adds to the tax base for Fayette County, as will the tremendous new complex being designed now for our county that will be devoted to the visual and culinary arts by Rivers Rock and Pinewood Studios.

If I understand the long-term plans, this will also attract Savannah College of Arts and Design to our area and others to help Fayette County build its reputation around the globe for music and the arts.

In the many articles that have been written about this, the quality of Fayette County life is heralded as one of the largest contributing factors to the decision of building this complex here. Our schools providing superior, well-rounded educational experiences are an integral part of that equation, as I believe you will all agree.

I urge you not to remove even one brick from the structure of this wonderful local resource — a high quality music education program in our schools. High quality music education does come with a price, but it is a price that we must be prepared to pay for the instruction that is so vitally important to our students, our community, our culture and our society. Please say no to cutting our music and arts programs any further.

Jim Gauntt

SoundAround Audio/Video Recordings, LLC

Fayetteville, Ga.

Location: 

Comments

Agree with Mr. Gauntt. Also, what about all the parents who would pull their children from public to go to private schools for music opportunities? Lessons can get you only so far, organized music such as band and orchestra should be mandatory in a quality school system.

Mr. Gauntt makes a strong case for music education in the public schools. I will guess that others can argue for the retention of other programs as well when cuts in these areas are suggested. Indeed, the putative reason for all programs in existence in the Fayette County School system is for the benefits they offer to our students.

So what exactly do we cut? If we have a current shortfall in revenue and a projected deficit in years to come, the books must be balanced. I see no appetite in Fayette County for tax hikes to raise revenue. We elect school board members to represent our interests in evaluating and determining the most efficient ways to use our school tax dollars. I can't imagine that they will find a way to trim the budget without deleting programs that are important to students.

I wish them Solomonic wisdom and a thick skin!

I agree with both you and Mr. Gauntt. Music can play a very important role in a childs overall education. And unlike some sports, one can use this training and brain power the rest of their lives.

We know we have to balance the budget. Schools are already closing, the workforce will be reduced and busing will change.

Its a no brainer for the assistant band directors positions to be eliminated.

We also know that each of the schools PTO has stepped up their game and they are to be commended for helping where and when needed. FC has a lot of talented people. Some of these people are retired, housewives, or husbands who may be more than happy to volunteer their time and knowledge to pick up the some of the slack.

What is stopping the BOE from issuing a plea to the residents to see if there are any volunteers that might be willing to step up and help. I bet we could find someone that could assist the band director and perhaps find help in other avenues that could possibly save certain programs.

Why would they ask for any help from parents NOW?? They have been given so many ideas and suggestions that could help with budget cuts but they have their heads so far up their butts they couldn't care less!
Btw, I think it's a great idea if parents would step up, there are sooo many talented people in FC and could be a win win for all.

suggarfoot's picture

I too wish for the ones making the hard decisions, " Solomonic wisdom and thick skin".

flwrgrl's picture

Unfortunately, the economy has hit volunteers also. As a former PTO President, current band parent and long-time volunteer in Fayette County schools, I can attest to the fact that each year the pool of volunteers has grown smaller due to our economy. I, along with a majority of the other Moms I have worked with and recruited in the past, have had to return to the work world. It's like a "Perfect Storm" of events that has conspired to cut the available pool of volunteers just at the time when it is needed most in the schools. Maybe some retired teachers or community members can step up to take our place, but I no longer have the luxury of being a full-time volunteer.

While we know that all programs must all bear some brunt of the cuts, please note that home schooling has risen by 75% since 1999 and is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the future http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/number-of-homeschoolers-growing-n... One wonders what are the reasons some might uncover that could lead them to choose public schools over home schooling (or private). Does home schooling offer team-developing activities with the same attention to detail and competition as a marching band, a choral ensemble, a symphonic orchestra? I remain convinced that there are some programs that provide an essential component to our culture and our intellectual pursuits. Music instruction at the highest levels, which can inspire an instrumentalist or vocalist to learn the nuances of their instrument, are vital. Parent volunteers cannot provide the same level of quality instruction as a trained assistant director (some of which pursue doctoral degrees while they teach full-time). We will reap what we sow and what we plow under; and so will our community.

Mr. Gauntt, you have eloquently summed up why music education of the caliber that we currently have in Fayette County is so vital to the success of not only the band programs, but to the success of the academic performances of these students. This is not a handful of students that we are talking about either. I have been told that an assistant band director comes into contact with, and teaches over 200 students each day.

For those who think that it's a "no brainer" to terminate the assistant band director, I'd like to share a glimpse of which programs rely on the expertise of both the band director and the assistant band director for their success locally, statewide and nationally.

Concert Band
Symphonic Band
Wind Ensemble
Jazz Band
Marching Band
Percussion Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensembles
Coaching for All-State
Governor's Honors Program
District Honor Band
College Scholarship Auditions
Individualized Instruction
Guest performances at local events
GMEA Statewide Leadership/Chairpersons
Brass Choir
Winter Guard
Summer Band Camp
Symphonic Band Camp
Large Group Performance Evaluations
Performing at prestigious university events
Fifth Grade Band Program (Unique to Fayette County Schools)
District Leadership positions

Send a plea for volunteers? Unless someone is a music major (Doctorate or Masters Degree preferred please), willing to put in 10 hour days (make that 12-14 hour days, 5-6 days a week during marching band season from mid July through early November) that our band directors and assistant band directors do...good luck with the success of the band programs. Frankly, I'm shocked at the suggestion that a Master's or Doctorate prepared assistant band director could be replaced by a volunteer, no matter how "talented" they were. How would it sit with you, after 6-10+ years of education, to have your career replaced by a volunteer? Clearly, you have no understanding of what these educators do.

Can someone explain to me why we are cutting 5th grade band? How does this save money? I was under the impression that these were taught by the high school band directors and assistant band directors. Oh right! It all goes back to getting rid of the high school assistant directors! Do you see the writing on the wall? First it's band and orchestra, then it's chorus. May as well get rid of the art teachers in every school while you're at it!

Yes, we elect school board officials to evaluate and determine the most efficient ways to use our tax dollars, but aren't they the same ones who have inefficiently used our tax dollars that got us in this budget situation in the first place? Perhaps this is where those volunteers will come in handy...running the FCBOE without taking a salary.

And yes, the school board officials are supposed to represent our interests. FCBOE...I hope you're seeing all of the opposition to your proposed budget cuts on the Facebook page: Stop FCBOE Fine Arts Funding Cuts and on the petition found at
http://www.change.org/petitions/fayette-county-board-of-education-recons...
Find a better solution!

[quote=fayettecountymom]...... assistant band director comes into contact with, and teaches over 200 students each day.
.......[/quote]

Mmmmm. How many kids does the assist. coaches come into contact with? Mmmmm.
Rumor or truth....WHS has 17 assist. coaches? MMmmmmmm. I would say that is quite a bargain the BOE is getting.

No one is saying that, EXCEPT for the current fcboe. First they close schools, next they cut extra cirriculars, and then they will fire teachers...the board is not going to listen to the tax payers. Never have, never will.

How do you suggest that the FCBOE handle the budget shortfall? Would you raise taxes and keep all the programs intact? If not, which programs would you cut?

I hear your criticism, but I don't see your solution.

I already posted some suggested cuts - what are your thoughts? My plan could save the Assistant Band Director position - called put a para in ISS in highschool. Certified teacher - $70,000 - para - $12,000 - no benefits! Could cover Asst. Band Director position - which is crucial to a successful band program. ISS - teacher in there? Not so crucial....

Welcome center - waste of money - school counselors could cover new students registering. PR person - $80,000 - Asst. Superintendent could cover that. 10 football coaches - some dads could cover that.

Thoughts - stranger than f.....?

G8trgrl - Your suggestions seem feasible. I have no children in the Fayette County Schools system, so I am not knowledgeable enough about their day-to-day operations to make sweeping suggestions.

When I read Aztecgirl's complaint, I did not see that she was offering any solutions, but merely ranting. She may have some wonderful ideas; however, merely offering criticism seems completely unhelpful.

G35 Dude's picture

At this point in time we can not afford to find cuts only to replace that savings with more costs. I.E. keeping certain extra curriculum. G8tgrls ideas are good and should be looked at but they don't come close to solving the deficit that the BOE faces. More cuts would still be needed. The only real answer to the extra curriculum problem is to pass the entire cost of the program on to the parents and let each decide for themselves if it's worth continuing.

There is a few things the Boe could do to help like provide free space, donate the equipment that it already owns, and allow transportation to transport these students at the same cost that it currently charges for field trips.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

hutch866's picture

As a long time band Dad, I can say except for the teachers, the parents already bear all the costs.

I yam what I yam

For one who has worked with bands in the past...
Many of the volunteers are working longer hours so their free time to help is dwindling as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6OhUws1ck&feature=youtu.be

No other county in the state can match the quality we have here in Fayette County. None. Facts to follow if needed.

How about we start with cutting the Welcome Center? What do they do each day? Register one student? We can cut the FCBOE television station! We can cut the PR person or give them some other duties - she makes a lot of money for what little PR there is to do. I think an Assistant Superintendent could handle that. We can cut the high school ISS person being a certified teacher! They don't teach in there - how can the ISS person teach language or math if they are an English teacher - put one of the paras that just lost their job in there. Middle school has a para - huge savings! Who pays for the SRO officers in the middle schools? That position could be shared by one person for high school and middle.(maybe that comes out of Sheriff's budget - don't know).

Fifth grade band costs the county nothing. The high school director walks or drives over 2 times a week for 45 minutes. Wow - huge savings! If the Asst. Band Director loses their position, then the Band Director would not have the time I guess. At Fayette County High the Asst. Band Director has a PHD - where do you find that kind of qualification in a volunteer?

How many coaches does football have? Maybe some cuts could come there.....this is where volunteers would most likely really step in. Cutting 2 sports in middle school - really? How much can that possibly save?

Can't make ISS a parapro --it serves as a "cover" position for the football coach. How would he have time to coach if we expected him to actually teach?

I see a lot of comments here where people are concerned about this, you shouldn't be. As long as their parents stay in FayCo, then they will still be paying property taxes and their money will still be used to support our public schools. Their children being gone just means we have less kids to spread the dollars around on, which is a good thing. Homeschooling or putting your kid in private school does not exempt you from property taxes. FayCo public schools are without question some of the finest in the state, for both academics and extracurriculars. If they don't feel like its a good deal for their kids and they want to educate their children somewhere else at their additional expense it should be fine by us. Their property tax payments to the BOE will continue. Now if the BOE will use that money efficiently and wisely remains to be seen.......

Stranger than f must be a BOE member as he/she is not listening. Gr8grl had some awesome suggestions to save us from losing the music programs and band teachers. Here is one more..Sit back and enjoy the Flat Rock Middle School band directed by the awesome Matthew Price. You will be amazed at these 12-14 year olds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX1BsRfR2B4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P5EuLF97wI

madmom

Amazed doesn't begin to describe the reaction to these extremely talented 12-14 year olds and their teacher!! Economists, accountants, financial advisors. - help! Surely the Board can find the $320,000 to save this program. Community businesses, can you help? Somebody? How much extra would each homeowner have to pay? Parents are already taking up some slack.

Mary Kay Bacallao's picture

One of our founding fathers, John Adams, once said,
???I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.?۝ (The 5000 Year Leap, page 63-64)
Interestingly enough, studying music can help our students in other academic areas such as math, science, and literacy. I will continue to advocate for our well known Fayette County music programs.

Its great to be an advocate for the music programs. We all understand the benefits and do want to keep it too.

It's now your job to determine what other cuts must be made in order to keep this program.

Can you share with us where you plan to make the cuts to allow us to keep the music program?

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]Can you share with us where you plan to make the cuts to allow us to keep the music program?[/quote]

I too would like to know what Ms. Bacallao would cut to keep music.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Her advocacy of things is getting old. We know she wants what's best for the students. However she ran for school board, not an advocacy group.

If she wants us to take her seriously, she needs to come prepared to offer reasonable cuts elsewhere. Her prior voting against the cuts without having any reasonable proposals on the table to defend is inexcusable.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

This is way more than just a rookie mistake - she's in denial about the problem. She seems more in step with feel-good and free-spending liberalism ala Smith and Smola. Newsflash! We need to take a break from that stuff for about 15 years until the system is stabilized. Job #1 is ridding ourselves of deficit spending. There has never been any question that with a deficit that large some good and valuable things need to be cut. Music is a good start. Teachers, sad but unavoidable. Football might be next. We have already done away with history by teaching liberal revisionist history - let's definitely do away with that. School buses - fair game.

Live free or die!

G35 Dude's picture

I don't doubt that she wants whats best for the kids. But from what I've seen she wants to win a popularity contest not sit on the BoE. She just doesn't have the fortitude to make the tough calls.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

I don't care if she disagrees with the other board members. But when she does, she needs to provide reasonable data to support her vote and explain how her plan would work. Right now we have 4 board members and one cheerleader looking for applause from the ill informed

Robert W. Morgan's picture

This year's 4-1 is much better than last year's 3-2 with Pressburg, Smith and Smola being the 3 out of step. Now we only have 1 (Mary Kay) swimming in dat river in Egypt. And a new chairman as well.

Live free or die!

suggarfoot's picture

I have to agree with you. You are trying to reason with people who are out of touch, Mary Kay at the top of the list. Mary Kay would have worked better with Smith and Smola hands down. I agree about the fairy dust. "I wish I may, I wish I might"... just won't get it.

FAYETTE COUNTY IS OUT OF MONEY....GET IT? WE ARE OUT OF MONEY BECAUSE OF OVERSPENDING. WE DON'T HAVE MONEY, SO SOMETHING HAS TO BE CUT...DO YOU GET IT SO FAR? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE US TO DO FOR MONEY? OH I KNOW, CUT ANY PROGRAM THAT DOESN'T EFFECT...YOUR... KIDS RIGHT?

When everyone sat by and let Smith, Smola, and Lee Wright spend us into this was the time to act. You are YEARS late with the suggestions. NOW... we don't have any MONEY.

If they don't balance the BOE budget, the state will come in and do it for us. What is Mary Kay gonna do then, throw fairy dust at them and crawl up in a fetal position in a corner? This is a real world.

suggarfoot's picture

does anyone know the outcome of the rape, or attempted rape case at University of Georgia a year ago last August?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

First of all, I have read the 5000 Year Leap and it is wonderful - dry in places, but wonderful insight into the founding fathers and not just how this country was formed, but why this country was formed. John Adams biography by David McCollough was even better. I am sure you will agree.

So, my question is, are we using either of those books in Fayette County Schools for teaching something like history? Huh? Wonder why,

Might be that several of the 28 principles outlined so clearly in the 5000 Year Leap won't stand up to present-day political correctness. One example:

2. A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Hmmmm. But it is ok to explore sexuality in elementary school, teach that homosexual marriage is the new normal and abortion on demand for the sole convenience of the mother (as well as other kinds) is the law of the land and we do all this in a school where prayer is forbidden and the mere mention of God gets the thought police organizing a SWAT team. Is it any wonder some kids bring guns to school?

But I have digressed - once again.
Back to the question - why don't we use books like these to teach real honest history? A followup question would be what books do we use and which liberal professor wrote it under what damn guidelines from local government, state government or federal government overseers. Need to fire those a*****s

Live free or die!

NUK_1's picture

Maybe get familiar with that concept because you haven't shown that you have any idea what you are doing yet.

Close no schools? Cut nothing? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? You see the deficit, right? It doesn't just disappear because we all wish it would. Your lack of ideas and resistance on how to cut this deficit are appalling.

Janet Smola and Terri Smith were simply awful and you seem to be heading down the same road.

suggarfoot's picture

What are you smokin? Your quote as applied to what is going on makes no sense. " I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy"....Are you saying you are student of politics or war? If so, how are you doing? "that my sons may study mathematics and philosophy" I don't think they have called for a math cut Mary Kay...they called for a BAND cut, something less important than Math don't you think? If you can follow the man (Adams), he is trying to say I'll do the hard stuff so future generations can have it a little easier and turn their studies to painting, poetry, music (the frills). What you don't seem to grasp is that YOU as a board member need to step up to the plate and do something hard for the next generation to enjoy the fruits of your labor. By your actions you are showing us you want the good stuff 1st. Sorry, Smola, Smith, and Wright, trashed that with their decisions. You have been put in a position to be responsible and fix their bad choices. But instead, you sound like a spoiled brat wanting the "frills" NOW!

I believe music does indeed add to a child's overall intellectual development; I also believe that any parent who wants their child to take music of any sort will figure out a way to get private lessons.

NUK_1's picture

As Ed McMahon would say :)

I paid and still do pay for music and also agree with hutch that being a band parent means a lot of $$$ already.

I am a big believer in the arts and music and exposing kids to them, but I'm a bigger believer in having your financial house in order to where you can actually run your school system, something that isn't the reality right now.
Everyone is going to take a hit one way or the other and the days of sacred cows are over when you have this kind of financial fiasco.

suggarfoot's picture

I'm an artist....I paint. When I was a child, I would have given anything for art classes. The few I had were private. My parents got me private lessons with hard earned money. I agree caring parents will figure out a way for private lessons. What people will not face is that we don't, as a county, have the money. When we don't have any, we can't pay for everything. Yes, I had music lessons and those were private too. I think a lot of parents here griping feel a sense of entitlement that we as a county can't afford. Maybe they are cheap.

Can you share the areas that would be wiser to cut? Thanks.

Wow. There is a reason why I haven't gotten on here too often before. You guys are brutal. I agree with Ms.Bacallao. So you are going to cut on the program that has garnered the most awards and probably have gained the most scholarships for students? No other school system in the state has as many awards for their band programs than Fayette. None. More students into All State and District Honor Band than Fayette. Kid from MHS got a $90,000.00 military scholarship...band kid. Another from MHS...just got accepted into Juilliard. Uhhh, Band Kid BTW. I know there are more...LET'S HERE ABOUT THEM! Yep. Understand you have to make cuts. It does hurt. However, when your producing students at that level??? And you want to cut that?? Uhhh, folks. These programs are teaching more than teaching a kid about marching band. Maybe, just maybe...they will grow up...and be your kids boss some day ;-)

G35 Dude's picture

No one is saying that music isn't worthwhile. We'd all love to keep this great program. But we live in the real world where some worthwhile things will have to be cut. If music is to be saved something else will have to go. What would you cut to save music? If the parents are so upset will they pay the entire bill as I suggested in a post below? Or is music only worth saving if there is no increase in cost to the parents? The people that come here supporting music do so without any input as to how it could be done. Thats not how the world works folks.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Do you really trust the fiscal competence of this board and their advisors? What has changed since past years? Somewhere in the millions - there is a more fiscally responsible cut than a $320,000 cut that is questionable as to it's actual expense other than teacher salaries. Was there an actual printout of this decision? Cost of salaries of music professionals; cost of instruments; cost of uniforms; cost of building utilities for extra rehearsals; cost of transportation; etc.? This is not the only community in this country who is facing 'cuts'. But others have not cut an award winning/scholarship getting program for students! I agree, something must be cut - but I have been out of touch with this issue in FC - and could not find any information of the BOE website regarding the proposed cuts.
Is $320,000 the actual cost of this program? As of now, a sizeable number have signed a petition - almost more than vote in local elections it appears. Has this cut been implemented? From comments on this site, some of the parapros and others are still waiting to hear if they have lost their positions. Parents appear to already pay for some of the expense of the music program. Just asking.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]Do you really trust the fiscal competence of this board and their advisors?[/quote]

Do we have a choice? Someone has to make these decisions and these are the people we elected. I have no problem with people questioning the decisions and making suggestions but these folks just want to keep their program. Ask how they would do that and all you hear is crickets.

[quote]This is not the only community in this country who is facing 'cuts'. But others have not cut an award winning/scholarship getting program for students![/quote]

You are correct!! But what you're not addressing is the overspending of previous boards that totally wiped out our emergency funds and made commitments that we can't afford to pay now. You know like buying unneeded land and building unneeded schools. Most other communities did not do that.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Let's face fact. $15.5 million in ONE YEAR. Really? I don't like running my family in a deficient, but can they do the cuts in two years, three? I have to plead ignorance there. It may be mandated. What is not mandated is the "Rainy Day Fund". The state "suggests" a 10% fund balance. Well... cut that big of a cut ($15.5 mill) and do the 10%? Why not do a 5% (fund balance) ...then the next year...a 6 or 7%...etc. If they make the county take a dive like this, quality will suffer. Then...let's just move to Coweta County...like many are. Or Henry County? We will not attract the teachers (you will have a hard time now finding quality teachers to come here as it is) nor the well educated home buyer if their property value is going to be like our next door neighbors in Clayton. Sad, but true.

G35 Dude's picture

Yes, lets do face facts. The "Rainy Day Fund" was exhausted last year by the previous board. This can has been kicked down the road as far as it can be. My own child was a member of the orchestra while in school. So you don't have to convince me of the value of the program. The fact is some things must go. Hard choices have to be made and now.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Can someone please post the 'facts' of this discussion. What is being cut? What are the parameters for getting out of this hole? At this point, do we really have to throw out the baby with the bathwater? I don't know of any state or federal mandate that is requiring districts to do this. (Sorry that I don't have all of the facts - please direct me to a website or article that can help me.)

We have been using our contingency to balance the budget for a few years now. We ran out of money, though there seems to be some savings this year that will carry over.

State law requires that we submit a balanced budget every year. They also recommend a contingency.

Gwinnett, Cobb, and many other counties are going thru the same thing.

Lets imagine your firm cuts everyones salary 20% across the board. Do you still take your wife out to dinner and listen to a band on Saturday night? Or do you do barbeque in the backyard and listen to the radio?

Had the board made incremental cuts the last few years, it wouldn't hurt so much. Now we need to make the cuts, bleed a little, let the scab heal and move forward.

Almost everyone agrees that we have a top notch music program and the benefits music provides the students in other academic pursuits. While I personally admire Ms. Bacallao for her advocacy for all of the programs that enrich our students education, she has not been successful in providing any realistic plan to cut the cost necessary to balance the budget.

It's not her fault we are in this position, but she choose to run and was successful in winning the position. We now expect her to come to the table prepared to make the necessary cuts. So far she has voted not to make any cuts but has yet to provide any realistic proposals to balance the budget. Hocus pocus and pixy dust isn't going to get us out of this mess. We have to make drastic cuts and start rebuilding our contingency fund.

We all would like to keep all the teachers and programs, but we can't. Everything must be placed on the table for possible cuts.

What is the cost to individual parents to have their child participate in:
The music program?
The sports program?
Thanks

[quote=Davids mom]What is the cost to individual parents to have their child participate in:
The music program?
The sports program?
Thanks[/quote]
Music? Anywhere between $600.00 to $1000.00 for kids in marching band. Less for kids only involved with Concert Band or what classes are held during the school day.
Sports? No idea.

Busy Bee's picture

Other than the cost of the band directors' salaries, it is my understanding that the booster club covers just about all of the costs of the music program. The participants pay for their own uniforms, cover transportation costs, etc. I think the sports programs operate the same way.
Frankly I'm not sure what the savings would be of cancelling the middle school sports programs, since about the only cost to the school system is the extra stipend for the coaches (who are already teachers) since the other costs are covered by the participants as well.

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