Pine-Strawberry School administrators and board members are meeting with teachers on Monday to discuss ways to make up a $138,000 budget shortfall. Originally, only certified, core teachers were invited to the meeting. This preliminary decision by the board would have unfairly excluded teachers of non-academic programs such as music and band.
Decisions like this can quickly lead parents, teachers and students in our small communities to worrisome assumptions.
This is understandable.
Exclusion from the decision-making process, especially when those decisions directly affect the excluded party, can be cause for alarm. In this case, music students throughout Rim country felt a need to sound off.
And while this may seem premature, as no decisions have been made, the Roundup believes there is value in speaking up early, before board members face the challenge of setting budget priorities.
Anyone who has ever been involved in music or the arts knows the importance of making these programs available to future generations.
Study after study has shown that students involved in music achieve better academic grades across the board. This means parents may be better off buying their child a trumpet than a computer.
So it is beyond understanding why, when education funding shortfalls are addressed, band and music programs are often the first to be targeted for cutbacks or elimination.
With that said, we yield this editorial space to a letter submitted by musicians in the Payson High School Band.
Editor and community:
We are members of the Payson High School band and a very serious issue has recently been brought to our attention.
As musicians, we were very upset to hear about the possibility of the Pine school board eliminating music from their local curriculum. When this was announced in our band class this last Wednesday, it broke our hearts, and one girl even began to cry. This girl was a music student in Pine who knows, as well as the rest of our class, how important music can be in the life of a child.
These students being brought up from Pine are some of the musicians who feed our program at the high school. Since the loss of Mrs. Gonzales, elementary schools in Payson have been robbed of the joy of music; a flame now which is barely being kept alive by a few individuals who also once shared in our passion.
What comes next? How far will this go? If Pine loses its musicians, then who is next to go? Will the middle school soon be cut off from the world of music? Then who will feed the high school programs?
If passed, this motion to eliminate the music program in Pine will affect all musicians, including those of us at Payson High School. Music is our life. We are not afraid to admit that. Most of us were enrolled in band throughout our elementary and middle school years, and many of us came from Pine. We had the opportunity to grow and express our passion for music, and we want that for all generations.
For many, sports are their life; ours is band. Please don't take away our lives. Please don't let the music die. Many of us here at Payson High School have been involved in band since we could hold an instrument in our hands, and some of us before that. Music is a legacy that must be carried on through generations to come. Please don't deprive our posterity in the Payson area of the same joys we have enjoyed. We all have a voice, you only need to use it. Please help us to save the music program.
The Payson High School Band (submitted with 37 student signatures)