We strongly urge the Board of Education to continue the music programs at the Anne Hutchinson and Greenvale schools as they currently stand. The recent decision to eliminate the third grade string program has already had a detrimental effect on the long term health of the orchestra program. Further cuts or restructuring would seriously compromise the quality of education that the district offers.
We are deeply concerned that any restructuring of the programs which place classes outside of regular school hours would make these programs inaccessible for many students. Some students would be unable to participate due to their parents' inability to transport them. Other students would be forced to choose between athletic, academic, dance, art or community programs and music. Further, we feel that a restructuring which further diminished the program would send the message to our children that music is peripheral to their education.
We are fully aware of the current fiscal struggles that we face as a community. But we also believe that the teaching of the arts, music in particular, is not a luxury. It fosters listening, cooperation, self-esteem and a range of objectively demonstrable improvements in cognitive development, learning, and long-term career success. Therefore, we strongly urge the Board to give its full financial support to our music program in this year's budget.