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UD Music Parents Advocate to Save Music, Arts

Reductions in the music and arts programs are proposed for the 2013-14 school year.

On Monday, the Upper Dublin High School Marching Band Parent's Association held an open meeting to discuss the proposed cuts in the 2013-14 school year budget.

Deb Carver, the Public Relations Secretary for the March Band Parents Association, say that the parents who gathered on Monday were there to "advocate for something that is near and dear to our hearts."

Chris Dowdell, President of the Parent's Association, said, "The budget process is already underway, time is not on our side."

He continued, "The stakes of tonight's meeting are high."

The proposed budget, according to Superintendent of Schools Michael Pladus, as a $2.7 million dollar deficit and the school board can raise taxes to a maximum of 3.04 percent.

"[We] cannot continue the spending trajectory that we're on without [major cuts]," said Pladus.

Pladus continued that the past few years, cuts have been made across the district that have been considered those that least impacted the students. He said there has been downsizing in administration staffing, the district has reduced overtime payment, the late buses, eliminated a social worker, a kindergarten assistant, a District receptionist and one Robbins Park assistant.

However, this years cuts will affect the students, although Pladus said the administration tried to cut from programs that have the least impact on students and made cuts with "fairness and equity to the extent possible."

The proposed budget eliminates a math coach and increases class sizes at the elementary level. During the question and answer session, Pladus told parents that reductions will also be made in elementary music, arts, physical education and library.

At the middle school, the budget eliminates two writing lab assistants, teacher reductions to .8 in music and arts and "other special areas," according to previous reporting in Patch.

At the high school, the budget, calls for the elimination of driver's ed, reductions in teaching assignments in art, music, business technology and family and consumer sciences and the increase in class sizes.

See the full list of proposed reductions here.

Pladus added that an activities fee is being considered and will most likely be implemented for the 213-14 school year.

Curmudgeon January 31, 2013 at 08:07 PM
All the comments about the music and art programs being a positive for the district and education are true. What are your solutions??? Not one of you commented when the school distriict gave the teachers union a 4 year 19% ( in reality a 24% with icreases for sevice and education achievement increases) a year early and shortly after the 2008 econimic disaster. $2.5 million increase this year plus the PSER's contribution, wonder why we have such a deep problem!!! I don't have any solutions that are better than the cuts. The horse is out of the barn.
sdaccos February 03, 2013 at 03:51 AM
I was at the meeting, and you are a liar. Dr. Pladus said no such thing. The teachers and administration are negotiating possible compromises. Give everone a break with the self-righteous indignation. Nobody is buying it. Give the teacher who commented a break, they are actually correct.
JB February 04, 2013 at 06:25 PM
I work in college admissions, I assure you I never look negatively on a student if they come from a school with a weak music program. We look at academics first and foremost, extracurriculars are bonus for those students who aren't as strong in the academics.
Janet Rosen February 04, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I am a former teacher of both elementary school and gifted education. I know from experience that children have many different kinds of gifts, some have academic talents but others are gifted in art and music and others in sports. All of these need to be nurtured to create healthy people who feel good about themselves and grow up to contribute their talents to society. Our school district should not discount this.
Margery Hesney February 05, 2013 at 02:56 PM
As a musician and music educatori I know what an important role music can play in one's life. For children, it can enhance their self esteem, broaden their horizons, and boost their learning potential. By making all of the music teachers in the district part-time, it would essentially be the end of all of the wonderful after school performing arts groups, including the marching band, choral and orchestral ensembles and theater groups. The beautiful new high school performing arts center will not serve it's purpose and our school district's wonderful reputation will rapidly go downhill.

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