Letter: Cuts to School District #83 music program appalling

Re: School District #83 cuts to music education in our schools

I am appalled with the continual cuts to SD83’s music program.

Throughout the years, the music program has been stellar and has been recognized by many school districts across B.C. for its quality of teaching and musicianship. It has been with great dismay that I read of the devastating cuts to this program.

The latest cuts to the principal of music administrative position have occurred while there has been no elected school board to vote on it and under the leadership of our new superintendent. Shouldn’t this important decision be made public before it is completed?

Related: Changes cause discord over school music program

The full-time principal of music position is gone, originally cut to a .6 principal of music position which is also gone, and is now replaced with a .4 qualified music teacher co-ordinator position to support the music program. This person also has a .6 music teaching position which means they are not available for situations that arise and must be dealt with within limited time constraints. This could include problems with microphones and PA’s right before a concert, pianos not working and needing to be replaced and instruments being driven to or picked up at outlying schools.

As the .4 music teacher co-ordinator position is filled by a music teacher, that teacher cannot be involved in the hiring or evaluating of new music teachers to our district. As music teachers have special qualifications, much like French immersion teachers, I believe it is necessary that a principal with these same qualifications be on the hiring team as is currently done with the hiring of specialty French immersion teachers.

Related: Salmon Arm music teacher Brian Pratt-Johnson honoured in special concert

Now that there is no music administrator in our district to hire, evaluate and support music teachers in the classrooms, I believe that the music program in our district will disappear. There is value in musical knowledge and musicianship being in balance with teaching the program.

It seems obvious to me by the actions of SD83 and the increasing harsh cuts to the music program that they do not value the music program in our schools.

I would ask SD83 to re-evaluate their decision to remove the music administrator position.

Pat Cheek


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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