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Music program given support

January 27, 1998

Music program given support

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

A group of teachers and parents who want instrumental music returned to elementary schools asked the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night to add funds to the proposed 1998-99 budget for that purpose.

To restart the program, the school system would need eight teachers at a cost of $225,000, said Rob Hovermale, a county teacher and member of the Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music.

Hovermale made the request during a public hearing on the proposed $108 million budget submitted last week by Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

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Bartlett has said he supports instrumental music in elementary schools, but that there is no money in his budget to restore the program.

The school board held the hearing to gather input on the budget before a spending plan is finalized.

Board members do not comment on the remarks during the hearing.

The board will hold a public hearing on its final budget plan on Feb. 26.

Members of the Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music said playing an instrument helps youngsters better understand subject areas like math and science and introduces them to the arts.

Students who play music have scored up to 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test compared to students who did not study music, according to the group.

Instrumental music was eliminated in elementary schools two years ago after principals successfully argued it interfered with other classes.

Only one other issue was brought up at the hearing. Hagerstown resident Russell Williams said the school system does not provide suitable seating for students who are overweight.

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