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Cost of music classes examined

February 27, 1998

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

The Washington County Board of Education is crunching numbers to see how much it will cost to add instrumental music to elementary schools.

The Board of Education has asked Music Resource Specialist Susie Kunkle and Supervisor of Fine Arts Lee Weaver to determine how much it will cost to teach instrumental music in elementary schools.

A group of parents and teachers who have been trying to convince school officials to return instrumental music to classrooms has suggested the program can be added at a cost of $225,000.

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But Board of Education President Robert L. Kline said it could cost up to $350,000.

Kline, one of three board members who support adding instrumental music in elementary schools, said he plans to ask the Washington County Commissioners for the extra funding in the 1998-99 budget to pay for the program.

The commissioners control how much funding the school district receives.

"It's going to be tough to put in the budget, but we will try our best," Kline said Friday.

Board member Doris J. Nipps said she does not believe the commissioners will be able to totally fund the $108 million budget proposed by Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

"There will need to be some cuts out of the board's proposal. And I've been told that by one of the county commissioners," said Nipps.

Although Nipps has said the board supports music education, she has questioned adding another subject to an already crowded elementary class schedule.

"It's a matter of what our priorities are, and what we can afford. It's far from over," said board member Edwin Hayes.

Instrumental music was eliminated two years ago after principals complained that it interfered with regular classes. The Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music wants its returned to elementary schools, saying kids are being cheated.

About 150 people attended a public hearing Thursday on the school board's proposed budget in a show of support for the music program.

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