Here we are again: enrollment declining, special education underfunded, school funding formulas changing, a global pandemic whose impacts we will continue to feel for years.
The one constant: Port Angeles School District’s incredible music program.
District administration is trying to take advantage of the sixth grade band teacher’s retirement and do away with sixth grade band. This would be a colossal mistake.
Today more than 100 sixth graders can learn to play 11 different band instruments and five percussion instruments from one teacher.
Students not only enjoy music programs but learn lifelong special skills.
How disappointing for them to lose out on opportunities to expand their music education.
Despite the superintendent calling for student voices to be heard at the state level, students who testified to the music program’s importance at the local board meeting were dismissed out of hand.
The middle school jazz band has already been cut, and sixth grade music education that used to be the shared responsibility of three teachers will now fall to two.
There must be a better way to manage our education costs, building upkeep, and critical elective programs without bankrupting our local economies or constantly facing cuts.
However, using a teacher’s retirement as an excuse to cut costs and do away with an entire program is unwise and would deprive our kids of the educational opportunities they’ve had for decades.