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No decisions made on music program

February 10, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

No decisions made on music program

The Washington County Board of Education shouldn't make a "knee-jerk reaction" to pressure to bring back instrumental music in the elementary schools, board member Doris J. Nipps said Tuesday at a joint meeting with the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

"I don't want to rush into anything," said Nipps, who said the school board should wait to act until it has a long-term plan it can believe in.

Instrumental music instruction was cut from the county's elementary schools in 1995.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he has started receiving letters about reinstituting the program and wanted to know if it was in or out of the school board's budget.

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Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. said it wasn't in the $108 million spending plan he presented to the school board last month.

But the school board hasn't finished reviewing that proposal to come up with a final version of its own, Bartlett said.

The Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music has been lobbying the school board to put money in the budget to bring back the program in the coming school year.

Despite the group's vocal push, it isn't a cut-and-dried decision, Bartlett said.

"There's a divide on this issue between people in the county," he said.

Snook asked Bartlett to cover the highlights of his budget proposal, which is more than $6 million higher than the current budget.

The three main issues in the budget are planning in accordance with the curriculum audit, salary increases and a focus on improving reading at the elementary level, Bartlett said.

His proposed budget, with an increase of about 7 percent over current spending, sets aside $3.5 million for salary increases for teachers, classified employees and administrative staff.

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