The chorus program at Rim Country Middle School will be offered next year after all, Principal Frank Larby said.
The popular program was among several on the chopping block as RCMS and Payson High School administrators scramble to make up for the loss of 3 1/2 staff positions apiece next year. Larby was leaning toward making chorus an after-school activity next year while offering Spanish as an elective class.
"The Spanish option really dried up because the teacher didn't want to see chorus cut in place of Spanish," Larby said. "Obviously there was lots of support for chorus so it really becomes a logical choice to put it back in."
Chorus teacher Karen Goss, who would have been reassigned to teach English, expressed her appreciation.
"I was real excited to hear the news that chorus was back in our program," Goss said. "I think that's in the best interests of our kids. I appreciate (Larby's) willingness to reconsider his decision, and the support of (PUSD Superintendent Herb) Weissenfels. I'd also like to thank the community and the students for letting our administration know how much they value a choral program."
A projected budget shortfall of $400,000 is responsible for the staff cuts. Weissenfels said the deficit is due to a hefty increase in state retirement contributions, a 20-percent increase in health insurance premiums, and a decrease of nine students in enrollment.
Larby said he hoped that Rim country residents will let their state legislators know that public education must be fully funded.
"Without the support of our communities, it becomes easier for the state Legislature to view public education as an ‘easy target' for budget cuts," he said.