Strike up the band—and the cash register—as the voted Wednesday night to move band and choir from the curriculum to schedule B activities, charging approximately $80 per student for each.
The fees will be in effect for the 2012–2013 school year.
The move will allow the district to move forward with class schedules for the coming year, a process usually already underway by this point.
“We still need to look at how the schedules play out, that's a big issue on why we need to make a decision tonight on this issue,” said Superintendent Steve Stein, adding, “We can't wait any longer to start putting those schedules together. We're kind of behind the 8-ball now in terms of putting schedules together.”
The move to schedule B means that band and choir will both no longer be graded and that the workload on the two teachers for the programs should be lightened.
During a more than four-hour meeting, the board voted 7-0 in favor of moving both activities to schedule B, also tacking on the $80 fee. The move does not, however, include a third teacher for the programs, nor does it include a teacher's aide for either program.
Principal Mike Rolinitis presented four options to the board for the two programs:
- Keep things as is.
- Move band to school day, move choir to extracurricular.
- Move both.
- Use a $5,000 grant from the booster club to hire a parttime aide.
The move will keep the fifth-grade band, symphonic band and concert bands, along with choir activities.
Mokena Music Boosters Vice President Dina Fugett said before the vote that there were concerns amongst members about what could happen to the band.
“It's not a matter of the grading, or what kind of time that takes from their workload,” she said. “It's what we can afford, it's what can be the best viable solution.”
The boosters previously offered the board a $5,000 grant to be applied to a part-time teaching position to help offset the workload of the two teachers. The board did not vote for or against the grant because of the new fees enacted on the two activities, said board president John Troy.
Parents in attendance at the meeting voiced a strong concern over the possibility of the move forcing difficult choices for parents and students between band or choir and sports. Several parents said that forcing such a choice was “unfair,” to both students and parents.
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