Keep music in our Fayette schools

To the Fayette County Board of Education: I write as a concerned former Fayette County band student parent, a citizen, and a business owner in Fayette County. I understand you will be voting on a proposal to possibly eliminate fifth-grade band programs and all high school assistant band and orchestra director positions on April 15. I write to voice adamant opposition to what would be a near-sighted approach to fixing budget problems in the school system.

Music education is one of the most valuable tools available to parents, students and our society for providing training in the disciplined pursuit of performing extraordinarily complex tasks.

One piece of evidence to this is that a primarily engineering focused curriculum university such as Georgia Tech maintains a fierce loyalty and commitment to, yes, its music programs.

It is why hundreds of Georgia Tech students, pursuing non-music degrees, spend hours of time each week practicing music for very little college credit. It is why Tech provides multiple performing ensemble opportunities to undergraduate students and offers master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music disciplines.

One thing that should be noted is that the quality of education at the high school level, which ultimately prepares students for the process of a disciplined pursuit of extraordinarily complex tasks, begins at the lower grade levels.

Simply maintaining the fifth-grade programs that mean so much to this process is vital to this enriching experience.

Also, maintaining the multiple levels of support and instruction at the high school level must be protected with no loss of director jobs. Why, one might ask?

Nature Neuroscience magazine: “Students in high-quality school music education programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the community.”

From 2010, Scientific American: “Studies have shown that assiduous instrument training from an early age can help the brain to process sounds better, making it easier to stay focused when absorbing other subjects, from literature to tensor calculus. The musically adept are better able to concentrate on a biology lesson despite the racket in the classroom or, a few years later, to finish a call with a client when a colleague in the next cubicle starts screaming at an underling. They can attend to several things at once in the mental scratch pad called working memory, an essential skill in this era of multitasking.”

Students of the arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board. Data from the College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Reports from 2006–2010 show that students enrolled in fine arts courses score from 11 to 13 percent higher than students not enrolled in any fine arts courses.

Armed with studies and data such as these, one could make the case that high quality and consistent music training is the most important spoke in the well-rounded-education wheel.

Our Fayette County-based business of 15 years, SoundAround Audio/Video, LLC, provides services to the Georgia Music Educator’s Association, the fourth largest music education association in the U.S.

GMEA and their programs are held up to the national spotlight each year as beacons of excellence – Georgia is known nationwide as one of the best places to receive a good foundation in music education.

This has not happened with the wave of some magic wand. It occurs because communities in Georgia such as Fayette County have traditionally seen the wisdom in continuing to invest in music education. At SoundAround we are so committed to this proposition, that we offer four scholarships to worthy GMEA students heading into college. We put some of our very limited funds into growing the music education process.

I might also point out that our small business adds to the tax base for Fayette County, as will the tremendous new complex being designed now for our county that will be devoted to the visual and culinary arts by Rivers Rock and Pinewood Studios.

If I understand the long-term plans, this will also attract Savannah College of Arts and Design to our area and others to help Fayette County build its reputation around the globe for music and the arts.

In the many articles that have been written about this, the quality of Fayette County life is heralded as one of the largest contributing factors to the decision of building this complex here. Our schools providing superior, well-rounded educational experiences are an integral part of that equation, as I believe you will all agree.

I urge you not to remove even one brick from the structure of this wonderful local resource — a high quality music education program in our schools. High quality music education does come with a price, but it is a price that we must be prepared to pay for the instruction that is so vitally important to our students, our community, our culture and our society. Please say no to cutting our music and arts programs any further.

Jim Gauntt

SoundAround Audio/Video Recordings, LLC

Fayetteville, Ga.

G35 Dude
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Bring on the flame throwers

As for all of you people that are advocating saving music all I can say is that you're lucky that I'm not in charge. If it were up to me we'd cut EVERY extra curriculum activity out of our schools before we cut the first core curriculum teacher or their benefits that they have left. Want your kids to play a musical instrument? Great get them private lessons. Want your kids to play sports? Go sign them up at the rec department. And if state law allowed you'd have to pay for your kids to ride the bus. And school lunches would be priced such that the lunch program was revenue neutral. Our schools first priority is to EDUCATE kids in the core curriculum to the highest level that they are capable of. We'll bring back extra curriculum as soon as we can afford them.

Husband and Fat...
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G35

Deal with the 3R's first while keeping the top educators, then divvy up the pot for the extracurricular. When we are in a better financial position, bring the funding back.

I am sure all the parents who feel strongly about their pet programs will find a way to finance the programs in the interim if they so desire.

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Concrete Paving

Am I the only one reminded of the concrete paver who campaigned tirelessly for us to support the T-SPLOST?

Steve

reddawg44
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This is RIDICULOUS!!!!!

I understand where many people here are coming from when they are concerned about the cuts to fine arts throughout the county. However, there are cuts going on all over the place that hurt. Due to some of the cuts, I will be taking a significant pay cut next year. Additionally, my spouse came home and said she would not have a contract because she is not tenured. Is this stuff painful? Absolutely. But am I writing editorials complaining about it? No.

Here's why: our system has to save money somewhere. Of course I would love to not take a pay cut due to cuts or have my spouse lose her job, but at this point there are many people who are going to be negatively impacted. All this talk about how important fine arts are and everything else is great and wonderful but name a department the system has that is an absolute complete waste and does not help a single student or the community? There are none and that is why everyone gets upset when their department, sport, assistant band director, etc. is going to be cut. To come on here and go on and on about how important fine arts and for not a single proponent to provide an alternative is mind-blowing! This is like your personal finances being a wreck and you are about to be foreclosed on and lose your home. But instead of paying the mortgage, you decide to pay the car notes on all 5 cars that you have and lose the house.

And to the poster who mentioned the fact that our county should not allow employee's children to come free of charge is ridiculous. I don't think there is a single educator in this county who became a teacher to get rich...but to slap teachers in the face who have already taken numerous pay cuts over the last few years, furlough days, and more duties/responsiblities because of fewer staff members on top of an already low salary is insulting. Sadly, I don't think you realize how many great teachers in Fayette County are not from here and commute to work here. It's a two way street!

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reddawg44

My heart goes out to you. You make a difference in our kids. I also agree many good teachers come from outside the county. Bringing their child is one of the few perks they have. For years people have complained about out of county (illegal) kids comming in. Very little was done. Teachers kids are not the problem. The problem is/was, years of overspending.

reddawg44
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Thanks.......
suggarfoot wrote:

My heart goes out to you. You make a difference in our kids. I also agree many good teachers come from outside the county. Bringing their child is one of the few perks they have. For years people have complained about out of county (illegal) kids comming in. Very little was done. Teachers kids are not the problem. The problem is/was, years of overspending.

While I appreciate it, I didn't respond to get people to feel bad for me or my colleagues. I responded to make the point that EVERYONE is suffering, not just fine arts.

suggarfoot
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I know you didn't make the comments for

me or anyone to feel sorry for you. That is another reason I respect what you said. Some people grasp the situation and make the best out of it. They then lead by example. I think you are probably one of those, that is another reason all this whining sounds bad. You are sucking it up, not liking it, but making the most of a bad deal. Again, my heart goes out to you and thank you for trying to make a difference with our kids.

reddawg44
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Thanks again!
suggarfoot wrote:

me or anyone to feel sorry for you. That is another reason I respect what you said. Some people grasp the situation and make the best out of it. They then lead by example. I think you are probably one of those, that is another reason all this whining sounds bad. You are sucking it up, not liking it, but making the most of a bad deal. Again, my heart goes out to you and thank you for trying to make a difference with our kids.

Again, I appreciate that and I can speak for tons of teachers in this county that feel the same as I do. We all know it will be difficult but we want to do it the right way and preserve what our county has, which many are envious of.

fayettecountymom
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Sorry suggarfoot

Emotions aside, the current economy and crisis that this board is in only brings to light that this is not the time to be supporting perks...for anyone. If we are looking for solutions, all suggestions are viable, and the ones that make the biggest impact on expenditures, with the least repercussions to the population our schools serve should be supported.

fayettecountymom
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Re: this is ridiculous

Quite honestly, I'm sure that are a number of Fayette County teachers who have children in our schools who would be love to fill the void left by any teacher that would quit their job over having to pay tuition.

There's a reason why they are living in other counties and teaching here, and it's not because they wouldn't like to teach closer to home. It's to pay lower taxes while at the same time, taking advantage of a superior school system.

Curious to know how often that street runs both ways when a Fayette County resident teaches in a surrounding county. Pretty sure they don't take their kids with them. Sounds like I've opened a can of worms.

G35 Dude
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Fayettecountymom- This really is ridiculous
Quote:

Quite honestly, I'm sure that are a number of Fayette County teachers who have children in our schools who would be love to fill the void left by any teacher that would quit their job over having to pay tuition.

WOW !!! You are so uniformed. Where to start? Well first Fayette County is already the lowest paying county in the Atlanta metro area. So don't count on that. (Teachers lining up for Fayette Co positions) At least not the cream of the crop teachers that we've been used to. Second, If they did not allow teachers to bring their kids here they would be, I believe, the only school system in the state not to offer this "perk". So yes the street does go both ways. Many teachers did at one time come here to be able to bring their kids because this was such a good system but I doubt that is the case any longer.

It is OK to open a can of worms so to speak. But I do think you should do a little research before doing so. To stir the pot with untrue/misleading comments is irresponsible.

fayettecountymom
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G35 Dude and reddawg44

G35 Dude, I am uninformed as to pay scales, yes, because I am not employed by FCBOE. I'm looking at this from a parent perspective, and this is what I see. People want suggestions, and those were merely suggestions. I certainly didn't come up with them, I'm simply re-suggesting them. Both of them have dollar signs attached, therefore, should be considered with the other proposals.

My reference to teachers available to fill a void was in reference to teachers that reside in Fayette County who will be out of a job with the school closures. I'm guessing that they will be looking. Some of them may even be the cream of the crop.

I'm not sure what comments were untrue or misleading, but here's the research that I did do. There are at least two counties in Georgia that do not exempt their employees from non-resident tuition, Oconee County near Athens and Muscogee County in Columbus. I certainly don't know anything about these school systems, and I'm unsure if there are other counties that do the same. I stopped searching when I found these two, but here are links to both.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/epolicy/policy.aspx?PC=JBCCA-R%280%29...

https://www.muscogee.k12.ga.us/AboutUS/Pages/Financial-Information.aspx
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2010/05/17/1126049/muscogee-school-board-...

I agree with reddawg44, that there is nothing good that will come out of any cuts, and I do believe that the Fayette County educators are top notch. When I suggested charging tuition to the children of all Fayette County school employees who don't reside in Fayette county, I understood that this might affect a large number of teachers, and probably, some of the fine arts teachers as well. How many would we lose? Who really knows? That would be an option that they choose, with the other options being pay the tuition, or enroll their child in the school in the county they pay taxes in. I am aware that they are not exempt from paying taxes in another county, but the taxes they do pay are of no help to the Fayette County Schools.

RT Tugger
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I like your idea, fayettecountymom

It’s not unreasonable, and it’s not asinine. I think it’s asinine NOT to consider this. We need to explore any feasible means of raising revenue, and asking out-of-county teachers to pay partial or full tuition should be on the table. State law allows out-of-county teachers to bring their children with them to the school where they teach, so a teacher would only have to pay tuition for the years their children are NOT at that school. Thus, we would not be asking a teacher to pay tuition for his/her child’s entire school career. Moreover, this would not have to be a permanent policy. Why not charge tuition just until we get our financial house in order? You can reinstate that benefit later, perhaps even in one or two years. I have done the research. This year, we have over 150 students for whom we could be charging tuition. Multiply that by $5,000 (approx. cost to local taxpayers) or a portion of $5,000 (if we charged partial tuition), and that’s a big chunk of revenue. And this is not about asking that “EVERY teacher that lives outside the county take a hit by having to pay tuition so that a FEW fine arts teachers can keep their jobs.” What a snarky comment. It’s about retaining a stellar band program for the STUDENTS of Fayette County whose parents pay taxes HERE. Not EVERY out-of-county teacher has a child in this school system, so they would not ALL taking a hit. We should prioritize the students of the people who pay taxes HERE. The schools are why many people choose to live and pay taxes here. Check out this link to an article about two Fayette teachers who live outside the county and have five children: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/fayette-schools-brace-for-cuts/nQTQh/. You’re telling me my taxes should pay to educate multiple children from a couple who don’t pay taxes here while the band program for Fayette County students gets cut? We shouldn’t be charging a couple like that ANYTHING? I think charging tuition is a great idea, as is increasing the distance required for bus service. You want another idea? Close an elementary school in Peachtree City! We have plenty of extra capacity to do it. Why was it never proposed? Hmmm?? You want another idea? Close the Welcome Center. Another one? How about cutting the SUMMER programs? Sports camps, cheer camps, art camps, drama camps, ACT/SAT prep? Why do we fund ANY summer programs (outside of perhaps driver’s ed) at this time? Another idea? Cut more people at the county offices. According to the BOE’s presentation, the percentage of personnel being cut is 15.7% at the elementary school level, 13.7% at the middle school level, 9% at the high school level, and 5% at the county level. Why were cuts at the county level the lowest? Plenty of workable ideas have been proposed. What’s ridiculous is how the county administration ignores them while continuing, year after year after year, to give preference to certain areas of the county and to certain groups of personnel. Thank you, fayettecountymom, for putting this suggestion out there.

reddawg44
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RT Tugger....

Before I go any further, let me disclose the fact that I have lived in Fayette County my entire life, went to school here, parents worked in the school system here, and have no children.

1. Above all else, this talk of taking this perk away from teachers is frustrating simply because we have been getting benefit and pay reductions almost regularly over the last five years. I am not saying we above that happening, but there is a different side to it. Five years ago, we just got furloughed, pay cut, etc. and while there was a little bit of backlash from the community, there was not that much. That has been going on for four years or so. Now, because those measures were not enough, some students are going to be impacted (i.e. fine arts among MANY other things) and the community is not happy. So, to sum it up, the teachers have taken the brunt of the blow and kept their mouth shut for four years. Now that the community is involved, people want the teachers to give even more. That has to stop at some point. Fayette County teachers are really disenchanted with the way things are going right now.

2. Take the perk away and then simply 'give it back,' well it does not work that way and we all know it. A couple years ago in an effort to save money, the county decided not pay our dental insurance anymore (which by the way, most other counties had long stopped doing but since Fayette County pays their teachers the lowest in the metro Atlanta area, this was a 'perk'). When this was cut it was suggested that it would be reinstated. Well, anyone who has a head on their shoulders knows it will never be reinstated. Once something like that is taken away, it never returns. I am sure there are professionals in other fields that can attest to this almost universal principle.

3. 150 students of teachers who live outside the county? How about we be more diligent in catching the 150 students several times over who do not live in this county yet enjoy our stellar education. When comparing these two groups, not only are there far fewer teacher's kid's who are here but at least they are contributing to the success of our county. The students/parents who swindle their way into our system yet do not live here are nothing mroe than leeches.

4. Snarky comment? Fine, if that is the way you see it. In part, refer to my first point. But also, why is fine arts so much more important than other things that are being cut? Some middle school sports or the fact that teachers now have fewer and fewer opportunities for professional development that directly impacts students and their achievement? Or things that are being added that are not so good? Such increased class sizes that have ballooned on every level by an average of somewhere in the neighborhood of five students per class. Among many other reasons, one reason private schools maintain high achievement levels is by keeping class sizes small. I do not think there is any arguing that smaller classes mean more individual attention/instruction for students. So again I ask you, why is keeping EVERYTHING fine arts already has more important than these other things? It is not as if fine arts are being axed altogether, just trimmed like virtually everything else in this county.

5. Nice link. It is always convenient when making a point, to cite the most over-the-top example. If you really believe that the story you referenced is anywhere close to the norm, I might as well stop now.

6. Summer camps. I don't expect you to know this, but the county actually gets 20% of all camps that are run on any campus through the Community School. In part, I understand why this is done but there is again a very frsutrating side to this. Many of the fields where these camps are conducted are maintained by the programs themselves and not the county (yes, the land is owned by the county) yet they take 20%. Yet another example of some teachers here in the county that do extra work with students (yes, part of it is to make the team better in the coming year....but much of it is to simply help kids) yet still have to give up some potential profit.

RT Tugger
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To reddawg

1. I appreciate your comments. I can understand the frustration of teachers who have had so many benefit and pay reductions over the years, especially if the community didn’t really offer much defense or pushback when those cuts were instated. You’re right….people get involved when something is most valuable to them, and cuts to teacher benefits in the past just didn’t generate large-scale interest.

2. I’m sorry if it seems naïve to instate tuition for just a year or so. If tuition as a temporary solution (specified as number of years) were to be stated policy from the outset, I would think this could work.

3. I completely agree with you on the out-of-county students whose parents cheat their way in, but I have tried to address that issue for YEARS with our BOE. I’ve spent countless hours on e-mails and conversations. You can’t begin to know how much I’m with you on this. My kids happen to attend schools where we probably have close to a couple hundred students who attend illegally. You think that doesn’t irritate me? It has in the past, and it still does, but we have a complete lack of willingness on the part of the administration to take meaningful, sustained action. It has to be an ongoing effort, and I’ve never seen the level of effort needed to make a change. Plus, there just aren't enough parents willing to put pressure on the BOE to do something.

4. Everyone is going to see some programs as more or less important than others. I happen to find great value in those fine arts teachers whose jobs are on the line. I’ve worked with them, I’ve been involved in the program. We had a whole school axed where I live. It’s not like I haven’t been affected by these cuts. I’m not suggesting we make NO cuts to the band program. There ARE cuts that have been proposed to the BOE (e.g., not sending marching bands to away games) instead of cutting the assistant band directors.

5. That article is the only one I know of that addresses this issue. And if you want to know something, a friend of mine who teaches at one of the schools that will be closed told me (before the decision to close the school was made) that she would be WILLING to pay some tuition for her son (the family does not live in Fayette County) if it would mean the school where she teaches could remain open. That didn’t happen, obviously, but it showed me that not ALL out-of-county teachers are opposed to the idea of tuition.

reddawg44
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RT Tugger....

Look, I do not have a problem with the fact that you think something is important. That is great and it is because of parents like you that we have so many successful programs to provide to our children. But you still did not answer my question here, which is why is band more important than (fill in the blank)? Is it more important than keeping regular education teachers to keep class size numbers down? As I posted earlier, my spouse is one of those people likely to be out of a job. Jobs like those keep class sizes down but we are cutting many of them too. I don't want to call others names or assume that people are being selfish, but I have to admit that it is really frustrating that someone like you can admit that there was not much community support for the past few years to fight for our teachers, and now that cuts are hitting something people like they now all of a sudden care! And to make matters worse, people like you want to see more cuts our way to preserve what you hold precious. Do you think that the teachers in this county have given less effort and generally put less into their job in light of all of the aforementioned cuts? The answer is easy: no. I would argue teachers are doing even more now than they did five years ago.

One thing that I think you are failing to realize is that when the county elmiinates a position, it is not only the salary that is eliminated but also the benefits package. That is cumulative over a number of years. That is why this stinks and should have been done years ago, but people like my wife will likely lose their job. So yes, as you pointed out, we could not have bands travel to away games but that only puts a band-aid on a gash or kicks the can down the road. That is what we have done for 5 years and is why we are having this discussion right now.

Just so you know, I don't really care about the teachers from other counties bringing their children here issue. It has never been an issue for me personally and likely never will be. But as I said in my last post, this is more based on principle. Yes, there are some adverse ripple effects that coudl be caused by this action, but it is more about teachers in this county that want to be treated with a little respect from both the BoE and community.

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reddawg44: You are a credit to FC teachers

I think you are wasting some of your time responding to the band-freaks here, though. I'm not sure the ME ME ME crowd deserves the kind of well-reasoned and thoughtful responses you give.

Both my kids went to FC schools from K-12. I also shelled-out a lot of money for band($$$),arts and sports. I'd do it again if I had to and probably would pay more if that was necessary. My daughter loved band and put in a lot of time doing it and we supplied the funding and driving for a good bit of it. Unfortunately, it's necessary these days for cuts all-around and I feel for those affected, but they are being selfish as hell about it.

In a very Republican county that is supposedly home to a lot of "conservatives," it's ironic that they suddenly drop those ideas the second it might affect them. "Take it away from someone else, not me!"

RT Tugger
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Really, NUK?

I wouldn't call myself a band freak, but okay. And I'm part of the "ME, ME, ME" crowd? If only you had ANY idea of the time and money I've put in over the years to support our schools AND our teachers. You have NO idea, but of course it's easier to throw out those accusations here. I'll just chalk it up to your ignorance and let it go. As I mentioned elsewhere, the school in my neighborhood is being closed. And you're telling me I'm unaffected? Really, I've been "affected" for years because the BOE doesn't address problems (illegal students)or allows other contingents within this district to scream and threaten their way out of ever being affected by change.

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RTTugger: I never said you were unaffected

Everyone in FC has been affected by the horrendous mismanagement of the BOE and will be affected even more coming up.

I spent a ton on band and the arts and I am sure you have to. I've done volunteer work and spent a lot of hours at schools when I could have been laying on the sofa. I am sure you have also.

It's not a matter of who has done what in the past; it's that we all have to deal with these drastic cuts because years ago when people were raising hell about what the BOE was doing, it was ignored and the same cretins kept getting elected and doing the same stupid things. Now, the bills are coming due and it's time to simply suck it up.

Husband and Fat...
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Tugger

If you read the article you posted, you would see that the FC teachers are one of the lowest paid in the metro area. You're going after employees you already pay below market value.

Teachers choose to work here not for the money. They know that the majority of the parents care about education. You take away a perk here or there and your kids will be taught by those educators recently indicted in Atlanta. Because that is the quality you will get.

These is our childrens education we are talking about. I for one am willing to offer a Tzedakah (2 Corinthians 8:14; Acts 4:34)

RT Tugger
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Yes, I can read

It's not a matter of "going after" employees. It's a matter of having to make difficult choices because our school system has done a poor job of managing its money. It's all about dollars. I prefer to choose keeping an outstanding program intact by trying to find sources of revenue. As I said, tuition might be something we could instate just for the shortest period the budget would allow. We're going to have a lot of Fayette teachers out of jobs in a few weeks. Why, if we charged partial tuition to teachers with kids here, would we suddenly have APS teachers here? There is no basis of fact on which to make that statement. We have far more teachers than we have positions for next year. Many parents, including parents who work as teachers here in Fayette, choose to live here (and pay more to do so) because of the schools. I agree with you that this is our children's education we're talking about. In my view, however, the quality of that education is higher with our music program intact.

suggarfoot
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the teachers make a difference

All these cuts...to pay for an... assistant... band director! Amazing. Let the teachers be the lowest paid in the area and pay for their kids to come here. Let the 1st graders WALK to school if their parents can't bring them and they live 1.5 miles from school. Let them cross 74...to hell with them so we can keep our ...assistant...band director. Do you guys no how selfish you sound? I'm not reading this anymore. goodby

RT Tugger
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Chill, suggar

Please stop insinuating that just because the title includes "assistant" that these teachers are insignificant. You're only showing your ignorance. And the idea to increase the distance for bus service was to do so for middle and high school, not elementary school. Really, NO ONE is suggesting that ANY child cross 74 to get to school. You sound ridiculous.

suggarfoot
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The only people who sound "ridculous"

Are you that want other's children to WALK to school so you can have your ...asistant...band director paid for by the county for YOUR children.

The importance of an assistant band director pales in comparison to the possiblity of someone else's child being hurt walking to school so yours can play in a band.

One of yall's suggestions below:

"2. Transportation estimates a potential savings of approximately $525,771 for personnel and approximately $145,222 for mileage per year if Fayette County were to implement a 1.5 mile non-transport zone around the school. The 1.5 mile distance is calculated using Edulog and includes students within a 1.5 mile travel distance. This includes all students within that distance whether it be next door to the school or across busy streets and divided highways like Hwy 74, Hwy. 85, Hwy 92.

So what's stopping the FCBOE from instituting this? There's another $670,993 in savings, but they want to go straight to eliminating the assistant band directors and the 5th grade band and orchestra programs for less than half of the savings"

I, like many others, are sick of the,"my kids needs is all there is" mind set.

reddawg44
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You sure did open a can of worms
fayettecountymom wrote:

Quite honestly, I'm sure that are a number of Fayette County teachers who have children in our schools who would be love to fill the void left by any teacher that would quit their job over having to pay tuition.

There's a reason why they are living in other counties and teaching here, and it's not because they wouldn't like to teach closer to home. It's to pay lower taxes while at the same time, taking advantage of a superior school system.

Curious to know how often that street runs both ways when a Fayette County resident teaches in a surrounding county. Pretty sure they don't take their kids with them. Sounds like I've opened a can of worms.

A couple quick points. I hate to say this, but the Fayette County school system has taken a hit both in prestige and services offered to students and the community. That is a direct result of the poor management the last few years. In my opinion, Fayette is quickly falling behind Coweta.

I don't assume you should know this because you are likely not in the 'education' circle, but I know of at least 15 people that live in Fayette yet teach in various surrounding counties. While 15 might not sound like much, that is what I personally know. Multiply that number several times and there is your two way street.

So, you are telling me that your job offers no perks? I find that hard to believe. Additionally, how about a coach who gets paid virtually nothing for the amount of time they put in but they do it because they love the kids. I guess this goes for fine arts as well. You are telling me that they have not earned a perk to have their kid come to school with them? What about the teachers in every building across the county that stay until 6 or 7 in the evening working on stuff for the kids when they can leave at 4? They have not earned a perk?

Let me elaborate on the "two way street" deal. If Fayette County forces employees to pay tuition, you don't think that is going to pull some teachers away from Fayette and to other counties? Many of these being the types of teachers/coaches described above? Yes, you are right about the fact that for many years Fayette has been an attractive place teach. But again, part of that attractiveness is because teachers know they can bring their children with them. What happens to the quality of teacher in this county if that is taken away? The quality goes down, period.

You act as if the teachers living in surrounding counties that teach in Fayette county are tax exempt. They do pay taxes. Last, the students of teachers from out of county is peanuts when compared to the number of other students who cheat the system and live with "relatives" by paper only in order to go to school in this county. We receive no tax dollars for their education. And it happens a ton.

Last, and this is the part of your argument that bothers me most. You are proposing that EVERY teacher that lives outside the county take a hit by having to pay tuition so a FEW fine arts teachers can keep their jobs. I am by no means happy that our county has to cut anything, because as previously stated, all of them are beneficial in one way or another. But...because something is precious to you, you target another group that should pay to keep your beloved program. I simply cannot wrap my mind around the logic of that.

NUK_1
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reddawg44: Totally agree with you

I also know FC residents that teach in Coweta AND take their kids with them to school.It is truly a two-way street as far as that goes.

The issue of falsifying addresses of relatives so kids can get a FC education has been an issue for a while and is a lot bigger concern to me than the "perk" of FC school employees being able to have their kids attend FC schools. Cutting that alleged perk is a non-starter with me and simply asinine.

Husband and Fat...
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Reddawg44: Amen

I agree with everything except the comment about FC falling behind Coweta. Coweta schools are improving and their finances are better right now, but I still believe FC provides a better education and this hiccup is only temporary.

reddawg44
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You are right....
Husband and Father of 2 wrote:

I agree with everything except the comment about FC falling behind Coweta. Coweta schools are improving and their finances are better right now, but I still believe FC provides a better education and this hiccup is only temporary.

I went back and read exactly what I said and I am wrong. What I should have said was that Coweta is quickly catching Fayette. And you are right about their finances, which is a big reason why they are catching us. Additionally, the fact that they are trending upwards should provide us even more reason to handle this budget crisis correctly and have this hiccup be only temporary and not mark a more permanent shift.

fayettecountymom
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Here are some suggestions!

After looking around on the FCBOE website for a while, I found some pretty interesting facts.

1. Per pupil expenditure: $8,317.86

I would be interested to know how many children of Fayette County school system employees who live outside Fayette County, who don't pay taxes in Fayette County, attend a Fayette County school. Is it 50? 100? 200? 300? Are there others from outside the county that receive special permission to attend our schools?

Seems they have a pretty good deal...free tuition...while the rest of us pay taxes to send our children to the same schools! Doesn't it seem fair that there should be a charge for tuition to offset the balance of bringing their out of county child to attend a Fayette County school...tax free? A tuition of half, even a quarter of the per pupil expenditure, would cover the $320,000 the proposed cuts to the band program would be saving. I would say that the benefit to many, of keeping the music program intact, definitely outweighs the individual gain of allowing county employees to continue to bring their children to our schools tax free. Time to cut out this perk of being a FCBOE employee when others are losing their job.

2. Transportation estimates a potential savings of approximately $525,771 for personnel and approximately $145,222 for mileage per year if Fayette County were to implement a 1.5 mile non-transport zone around the school. The 1.5 mile distance is calculated using Edulog and includes students within a 1.5 mile travel distance. This includes all students within that distance whether it be next door to the school or across busy streets and divided highways like Hwy 74, Hwy. 85, Hwy 92.

So what's stopping the FCBOE from instituting this? There's another $670,993 in savings, but they want to go straight to eliminating the assistant band directors and the 5th grade band and orchestra programs for less than half of the savings.

I know that I will be contacting the FCBOE board members with these ideas.

Husband and Fat...
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Just waking up?

These items have been on the table for a long time. The Citizen ran an article in 2011 about the employees kids coming to school here. These numbers have been out there for a long time. You're a day late and a dollar short.

The BOE has a lot of cuts to make. Every kid is going to be affected, mine, yours, everyone. Its reality.

fayettecountymom
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Re: just waking up?

Ha! Are you saying these aren't feasible? Maybe this effects you. If it's been around that long and hasn't been approved, then it needs to come to the forefront. Many people who attend our schools, like myself, wouldn't even think to question this in the past, but it's time to get real!

Husband and Fat...
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All are feasible. These have

All are feasible. These have been on the table for a long time and the board is well aware of them.

Out of county students of teachers at last count in 2011 was in the 300 range. It's probably lower now. This was glossed over as a courtesy most counties approve if the space is available. If you take this away I think we're being a little short sighted.

People are coming out of the woodwork now that they finally see that their little Jimmy or Sally may have to walk to school now or are losing something they want. The cuts are going to affect every kid like it or not. It's too late to change this fact. If you want a program, people will become very imaginative and find ways to support them other ways or volunteer their time to help.

Davids mom
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Fayettecountymom

Thanks!

Davids mom
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A Question

What is the cost to individual parents to have their child participate in:
The music program?
The sports program?
Thanks

RRR
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Re: A Question
Davids mom wrote:

What is the cost to individual parents to have their child participate in:
The music program?
The sports program?
Thanks

Music? Anywhere between $600.00 to $1000.00 for kids in marching band. Less for kids only involved with Concert Band or what classes are held during the school day.
Sports? No idea.

Busy Bee
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Cost of music program

Other than the cost of the band directors' salaries, it is my understanding that the booster club covers just about all of the costs of the music program. The participants pay for their own uniforms, cover transportation costs, etc. I think the sports programs operate the same way.
Frankly I'm not sure what the savings would be of cancelling the middle school sports programs, since about the only cost to the school system is the extra stipend for the coaches (who are already teachers) since the other costs are covered by the participants as well.

Davids mom
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RRR & Busy Bee

Thank you. To those in school administration: What is the actual savings by eliminating these programs other than the eliminating of teachers salaries? I don't have children in school, but I am a tax payer and a homeowner. The value of my home is tied directly to the value of the education that a child living in this district will receive. The music program in this county is a selling point to prospective buyers. The proximity to the anticipated art school and a movie/TV studio should be an attraction also. FC students should have the opportunity to be prepared in the arts - and continue an outstanding educational and career experience by having an outstanding K-12 music/theater arts experience. I will check the county website for the budget and anticipated savings to be gained by cutting this program.

Still other proposed reductions include the elimination of fifth-grade band and orchestra, eliminating contracted orchestra instruction and eliminating assistant band directors at each high school, though the band directors at the middle schools will assist at the high school level. Those reductions would save $320,000.

From an article in The Citizen. Is this still a valid figure?

RRR
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Re: A Question
Davids mom wrote:

Thank you. To those in school administration: What is the actual savings by eliminating these programs other than the eliminating of teachers salaries? I don't have children in school, but I am a tax payer and a homeowner. The value of my home is tied directly to the value of the education that a child living in this district will receive. The music program in this county is a selling point to prospective buyers. The proximity to the anticipated art school and a movie/TV studio should be an attraction also. FC students should have the opportunity to be prepared in the arts - and continue an outstanding educational and career experience by having an outstanding K-12 music/theater arts experience. I will check the county website for the budget and anticipated savings to be gained by cutting this program.

Still other proposed reductions include the elimination of fifth-grade band and orchestra, eliminating contracted orchestra instruction and eliminating assistant band directors at each high school, though the band directors at the middle schools will assist at the high school level. Those reductions would save $320,000.

From an article in The Citizen. Is this still a valid figure?

No idea where all their figures are coming from.
Something that has not been said anywhere. This is a known fact around band directors. ANY band director that moved to Fayette County took a pay cut to come here. (If they were already teaching in another school system) They came here because of the quality programs here. FACT. Another FACT, when theses positions come open in any band program in the county... people will not want to come and teach here anymore. It will be just like any other program in the south metro area. FACT. Let's just dumb it down some more. Frills? No. Those kids know how to be disciplined in their studies and can multi task like there is no tomorrow. Those are the kids who will be the CEOs and other top officials that the jocks will be working for. :-) True...go look it up ;-)

G35 Dude
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RRR-Where are you getting your info?
Quote:

Those are the kids who will be the CEOs and other top officials that the jocks will be working for. :-) True...go look it up ;-)

OK I tried to as you say look it. I don't where you're getting your information but here is what I found. From the USnews addressing the majors belonging to the CEO's of the fortune 500 companies.

Quote:

The 500 executives collectively earned about 465 college degrees, which means about 35 executives didn't graduate from college. Both Ralph Lauren and Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas Sands Corp.) are among the CEOs who dropped out of college. But the Fortune 500 executives who completed both college and graduate school collectively earned about 200 M.B.A.'s and about 140 other graduate degrees.

From an article in College Confidential:

Quote:

21% of all CEO’s have an engineering degree. The next highest was Business Administration at 15%. So if you want to eventually be a CEO, stick to either engineering or business, mainly engineering I’d say. Don’t be an accountant if you have CEO aspirations as only 5% have accounting degrees.

I have yet to find a CEO with a degree in music. I'm sure there are a couple. You can drop the attitude and just tell us what you think should be cut in place of music.

RRR
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Re:Where are you getting your info?

[/quote]
I have yet to find a CEO with a degree in music. I'm sure there are a couple. You can drop the attitude and just tell us what you think should be cut in place of music.[/quote]

Didn't say the CEO's had music degrees. Go look and see how many of those CEO's were involved in the ARTS. You will find many of them. Also, here in a few months see how many of the top 10 grads from each high school is involved in the ARTS. You will find that common thread throughout all of the schools. Most musicians and music teachers didn't go into that field to get rich. They share the love of music and discipline that musicians have with their kids. That carries over into most any field of study.

Husband and Fat...
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RRR

I have not read a blog from anyone that says that the arts are worthless. We all know the benefits of an education in the arts, we know that sports teaches leadership and teamwork. Many business executives can look back and point to the arts or sports as having helped mold them into the leaders of today.

The point being made is that we have to start at the basics. Leaders of today come with business and engineering degrees. It is a much harder to rise thru the corporate ladder starting with a degree in the arts.

FC has a tremendous amount of cuts to make to balance the budget. The BOE has to keep the basics and then look at all of the extra curricular items and cut there. Teachers, Music, Art, Sports, Busing, and many more have to be on the table for possible cuts. It wouldn't have been as painful had we started making smaller cuts the past few years instead of using our contingency funds to help balance the budget.

thinkingisgood
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Choice of the Choral directors at WHS and SMH

When a Program is in jeopardy of cuts the program directors should be more careful in what they present. Stars Mill High School recently presented there yearly music program that was called Urintown. A old play that is about urination and is not the best choice by any means for a High school musical when older adults and small children will attend. Then a few weeks later Whitewater Highs school preforms a old anti war play Hair that I did attend I noticed that if was approved by the Principal and the our School Superintend and a advertisement from this newspaper. Having many friends who did not burn there draft cards and who gave there lives in Vietnam war and having to listen to Hell NO I WANT GO again made me and many other my age very uncomfortable. I don't blame this on the Students but on the administrators and the directors when find arts are on the line to be cut I would not have given the go sign these two musicals. I understand people left both performances.

thinkingisgood
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Choice of the Choral directors at WHS and SMH

When a Program is in jeopardy of cuts the program directors should be more careful in what they present. Stars Mill High School recently presented there yearly music program that was called Urintown. A old play that is about urination and is not the best choice by any means for a High school musical when older adults and small children will attend. Then a few weeks later Whitewater Highs school preforms a old anti war play Hair that I did attend I noticed that if was approved by the Principal and the our School Superintend and a advertisement from this newspaper. Having many friends who did not burn there draft cards and who gave there lives in Vietnam war and having to listen to Hell NO I WANT GO again made me and many other my age very uncomfortable. I don't blame this on the Students but on the administrators and the directors when find arts are on the line to be cut I would not have given the go sign these two musicals. I understand people left both performances.

suggarfoot
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Husband and Father

You keep telling them the same thing so sweetly. They are trying to take this out on the current BOE who they SHOULD see as heroes doing a thankless job that the bloggers, themselves, could have run for if they thought they could do better. We should get behind the BOE members that are making the hard choices. If they want to blame someone, look to the last 3/2 block. Look at the hundred of acres of land they bought with our money. There lies your assistant band director's salary. There lies all your frills. We have no money now. Dr Todd made enemies out of the 3 on the BOE, Smith, Smola, and Wright, by going public years ago with the fact that if they didn't ballance the budget THEN, we would have hell to pay in the future. They did everything to shut him up, even threatened him with ethics complaints because he wouldn't, as they put it, show a united front. It was just plain wrong what they did.

Now, we are paying the price. If we had paid attention years ago to what he was saying and voted them out sooner, it is possible we wouldn't be in as bad a fix today. Many people warned Rivers would be the end of Tyrone Elementary if the economy went south. No one paid attention. Now they are talking about they don't want to lose ...ASSISTANT...band directors. There is a disconnect here between what is real (budget) and fairy dust. Wishing just doesn't make it so.

Davids mom
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The info we need

is what is being cut in Fayette County! Surely someone has that information. I can't find it. :-(

RRR
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Flame suit on...and here we go....

Wow. There is a reason why I haven't gotten on here too often before. You guys are brutal. I agree with Ms.Bacallao. So you are going to cut on the program that has garnered the most awards and probably have gained the most scholarships for students? No other school system in the state has as many awards for their band programs than Fayette. None. More students into All State and District Honor Band than Fayette. Kid from MHS got a $90,000.00 military scholarship...band kid. Another from MHS...just got accepted into Juilliard. Uhhh, Band Kid BTW. I know there are more...LET'S HERE ABOUT THEM! Yep. Understand you have to make cuts. It does hurt. However, when your producing students at that level??? And you want to cut that?? Uhhh, folks. These programs are teaching more than teaching a kid about marching band. Maybe, just maybe...they will grow up...and be your kids boss some day ;-)

Husband and Fat...
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RRR

Almost everyone agrees that we have a top notch music program and the benefits music provides the students in other academic pursuits. While I personally admire Ms. Bacallao for her advocacy for all of the programs that enrich our students education, she has not been successful in providing any realistic plan to cut the cost necessary to balance the budget.

It's not her fault we are in this position, but she choose to run and was successful in winning the position. We now expect her to come to the table prepared to make the necessary cuts. So far she has voted not to make any cuts but has yet to provide any realistic proposals to balance the budget. Hocus pocus and pixy dust isn't going to get us out of this mess. We have to make drastic cuts and start rebuilding our contingency fund.

We all would like to keep all the teachers and programs, but we can't. Everything must be placed on the table for possible cuts.

G35 Dude
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RRR- And how do we do it?

No one is saying that music isn't worthwhile. We'd all love to keep this great program. But we live in the real world where some worthwhile things will have to be cut. If music is to be saved something else will have to go. What would you cut to save music? If the parents are so upset will they pay the entire bill as I suggested in a post below? Or is music only worth saving if there is no increase in cost to the parents? The people that come here supporting music do so without any input as to how it could be done. Thats not how the world works folks.

RRR
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Re: And how do we do it?

Let's face fact. $15.5 million in ONE YEAR. Really? I don't like running my family in a deficient, but can they do the cuts in two years, three? I have to plead ignorance there. It may be mandated. What is not mandated is the "Rainy Day Fund". The state "suggests" a 10% fund balance. Well... cut that big of a cut ($15.5 mill) and do the 10%? Why not do a 5% (fund balance) ...then the next year...a 6 or 7%...etc. If they make the county take a dive like this, quality will suffer. Then...let's just move to Coweta County...like many are. Or Henry County? We will not attract the teachers (you will have a hard time now finding quality teachers to come here as it is) nor the well educated home buyer if their property value is going to be like our next door neighbors in Clayton. Sad, but true.

Husband and Fat...
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RRR- No Can do

We have been using our contingency to balance the budget for a few years now. We ran out of money, though there seems to be some savings this year that will carry over.

State law requires that we submit a balanced budget every year. They also recommend a contingency.

Gwinnett, Cobb, and many other counties are going thru the same thing.

Lets imagine your firm cuts everyones salary 20% across the board. Do you still take your wife out to dinner and listen to a band on Saturday night? Or do you do barbeque in the backyard and listen to the radio?

Had the board made incremental cuts the last few years, it wouldn't hurt so much. Now we need to make the cuts, bleed a little, let the scab heal and move forward.

G35 Dude
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RR-Lets do face facts

Yes, lets do face facts. The "Rainy Day Fund" was exhausted last year by the previous board. This can has been kicked down the road as far as it can be. My own child was a member of the orchestra while in school. So you don't have to convince me of the value of the program. The fact is some things must go. Hard choices have to be made and now.

Davids mom
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Facts:

Can someone please post the 'facts' of this discussion. What is being cut? What are the parameters for getting out of this hole? At this point, do we really have to throw out the baby with the bathwater? I don't know of any state or federal mandate that is requiring districts to do this. (Sorry that I don't have all of the facts - please direct me to a website or article that can help me.)

Davids mom
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g35 Dude and others

Do you really trust the fiscal competence of this board and their advisors? What has changed since past years? Somewhere in the millions - there is a more fiscally responsible cut than a $320,000 cut that is questionable as to it's actual expense other than teacher salaries. Was there an actual printout of this decision? Cost of salaries of music professionals; cost of instruments; cost of uniforms; cost of building utilities for extra rehearsals; cost of transportation; etc.? This is not the only community in this country who is facing 'cuts'. But others have not cut an award winning/scholarship getting program for students! I agree, something must be cut - but I have been out of touch with this issue in FC - and could not find any information of the BOE website regarding the proposed cuts.
Is $320,000 the actual cost of this program? As of now, a sizeable number have signed a petition - almost more than vote in local elections it appears. Has this cut been implemented? From comments on this site, some of the parapros and others are still waiting to hear if they have lost their positions. Parents appear to already pay for some of the expense of the music program. Just asking.

G35 Dude
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DM-Listen for the crickets
Quote:

Do you really trust the fiscal competence of this board and their advisors?

Do we have a choice? Someone has to make these decisions and these are the people we elected. I have no problem with people questioning the decisions and making suggestions but these folks just want to keep their program. Ask how they would do that and all you hear is crickets.

Quote:

This is not the only community in this country who is facing 'cuts'. But others have not cut an award winning/scholarship getting program for students!

You are correct!! But what you're not addressing is the overspending of previous boards that totally wiped out our emergency funds and made commitments that we can't afford to pay now. You know like buying unneeded land and building unneeded schools. Most other communities did not do that.

Mary Kay Bacallao
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Music

One of our founding fathers, John Adams, once said,
“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” (The 5000 Year Leap, page 63-64)
Interestingly enough, studying music can help our students in other academic areas such as math, science, and literacy. I will continue to advocate for our well known Fayette County music programs.

Davids mom
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Ms. Bacallao

Can you share the areas that would be wiser to cut? Thanks.

suggarfoot
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Mary Kay...are you there?

What are you smokin? Your quote as applied to what is going on makes no sense. " I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy"....Are you saying you are student of politics or war? If so, how are you doing? "that my sons may study mathematics and philosophy" I don't think they have called for a math cut Mary Kay...they called for a BAND cut, something less important than Math don't you think? If you can follow the man (Adams), he is trying to say I'll do the hard stuff so future generations can have it a little easier and turn their studies to painting, poetry, music (the frills). What you don't seem to grasp is that YOU as a board member need to step up to the plate and do something hard for the next generation to enjoy the fruits of your labor. By your actions you are showing us you want the good stuff 1st. Sorry, Smola, Smith, and Wright, trashed that with their decisions. You have been put in a position to be responsible and fix their bad choices. But instead, you sound like a spoiled brat wanting the "frills" NOW!

AtHomeGym
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Sweetfeet & Music

I believe music does indeed add to a child's overall intellectual development; I also believe that any parent who wants their child to take music of any sort will figure out a way to get private lessons.

suggarfoot
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AHG

I'm an artist....I paint. When I was a child, I would have given anything for art classes. The few I had were private. My parents got me private lessons with hard earned money. I agree caring parents will figure out a way for private lessons. What people will not face is that we don't, as a county, have the money. When we don't have any, we can't pay for everything. Yes, I had music lessons and those were private too. I think a lot of parents here griping feel a sense of entitlement that we as a county can't afford. Maybe they are cheap.

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AHG: You are correct, sir

As Ed McMahon would say :)

I paid and still do pay for music and also agree with hutch that being a band parent means a lot of $$$ already.

I am a big believer in the arts and music and exposing kids to them, but I'm a bigger believer in having your financial house in order to where you can actually run your school system, something that isn't the reality right now.
Everyone is going to take a hit one way or the other and the days of sacred cows are over when you have this kind of financial fiasco.

NUK_1
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There's something called a "budget"

Maybe get familiar with that concept because you haven't shown that you have any idea what you are doing yet.

Close no schools? Cut nothing? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? You see the deficit, right? It doesn't just disappear because we all wish it would. Your lack of ideas and resistance on how to cut this deficit are appalling.

Janet Smola and Terri Smith were simply awful and you seem to be heading down the same road.

Robert W. Morgan
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I have a question for the school board about books in school

First of all, I have read the 5000 Year Leap and it is wonderful - dry in places, but wonderful insight into the founding fathers and not just how this country was formed, but why this country was formed. John Adams biography by David McCollough was even better. I am sure you will agree.

So, my question is, are we using either of those books in Fayette County Schools for teaching something like history? Huh? Wonder why,

Might be that several of the 28 principles outlined so clearly in the 5000 Year Leap won't stand up to present-day political correctness. One example:

2. A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Hmmmm. But it is ok to explore sexuality in elementary school, teach that homosexual marriage is the new normal and abortion on demand for the sole convenience of the mother (as well as other kinds) is the law of the land and we do all this in a school where prayer is forbidden and the mere mention of God gets the thought police organizing a SWAT team. Is it any wonder some kids bring guns to school?

But I have digressed - once again.
Back to the question - why don't we use books like these to teach real honest history? A followup question would be what books do we use and which liberal professor wrote it under what damn guidelines from local government, state government or federal government overseers. Need to fire those a*****s

Husband and Fat...
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Ms. Bacallao

Its great to be an advocate for the music programs. We all understand the benefits and do want to keep it too.

It's now your job to determine what other cuts must be made in order to keep this program.

Can you share with us where you plan to make the cuts to allow us to keep the music program?

G35 Dude
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Ms. Bacallo part 2
Quote:

Can you share with us where you plan to make the cuts to allow us to keep the music program?

I too would like to know what Ms. Bacallao would cut to keep music.

Husband and Fat...
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G35

Her advocacy of things is getting old. We know she wants what's best for the students. However she ran for school board, not an advocacy group.

If she wants us to take her seriously, she needs to come prepared to offer reasonable cuts elsewhere. Her prior voting against the cuts without having any reasonable proposals on the table to defend is inexcusable.

Robert W. Morgan
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She just ran at the wrong time. Didn't know about the $20mil

This is way more than just a rookie mistake - she's in denial about the problem. She seems more in step with feel-good and free-spending liberalism ala Smith and Smola. Newsflash! We need to take a break from that stuff for about 15 years until the system is stabilized. Job #1 is ridding ourselves of deficit spending. There has never been any question that with a deficit that large some good and valuable things need to be cut. Music is a good start. Teachers, sad but unavoidable. Football might be next. We have already done away with history by teaching liberal revisionist history - let's definitely do away with that. School buses - fair game.

G35 Dude
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H&F and RWM re:Bacallao

I don't doubt that she wants whats best for the kids. But from what I've seen she wants to win a popularity contest not sit on the BoE. She just doesn't have the fortitude to make the tough calls.

Husband and Fat...
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Exactly

I don't care if she disagrees with the other board members. But when she does, she needs to provide reasonable data to support her vote and explain how her plan would work. Right now we have 4 board members and one cheerleader looking for applause from the ill informed

Robert W. Morgan
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Huge improvement over last year

This year's 4-1 is much better than last year's 3-2 with Pressburg, Smith and Smola being the 3 out of step. Now we only have 1 (Mary Kay) swimming in dat river in Egypt. And a new chairman as well.

suggarfoot
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g35, Robert, Husband n father

I have to agree with you. You are trying to reason with people who are out of touch, Mary Kay at the top of the list. Mary Kay would have worked better with Smith and Smola hands down. I agree about the fairy dust. "I wish I may, I wish I might"... just won't get it.

FAYETTE COUNTY IS OUT OF MONEY....GET IT? WE ARE OUT OF MONEY BECAUSE OF OVERSPENDING. WE DON'T HAVE MONEY, SO SOMETHING HAS TO BE CUT...DO YOU GET IT SO FAR? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE US TO DO FOR MONEY? OH I KNOW, CUT ANY PROGRAM THAT DOESN'T EFFECT...YOUR... KIDS RIGHT?

When everyone sat by and let Smith, Smola, and Lee Wright spend us into this was the time to act. You are YEARS late with the suggestions. NOW... we don't have any MONEY.

If they don't balance the BOE budget, the state will come in and do it for us. What is Mary Kay gonna do then, throw fairy dust at them and crawl up in a fetal position in a corner? This is a real world.

suggarfoot
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ps

does anyone know the outcome of the rape, or attempted rape case at University of Georgia a year ago last August?

Missy
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Possible BOE member?

Stranger than f must be a BOE member as he/she is not listening. Gr8grl had some awesome suggestions to save us from losing the music programs and band teachers. Here is one more..Sit back and enjoy the Flat Rock Middle School band directed by the awesome Matthew Price. You will be amazed at these 12-14 year olds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX1BsRfR2B4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P5EuLF97wI

Davids mom
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Missy! - exceptional musicians in FC Schools!

Amazed doesn't begin to describe the reaction to these extremely talented 12-14 year olds and their teacher!! Economists, accountants, financial advisors. - help! Surely the Board can find the $320,000 to save this program. Community businesses, can you help? Somebody? How much extra would each homeowner have to pay? Parents are already taking up some slack.

renault314
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dont worry about kids going to private or home schooling

I see a lot of comments here where people are concerned about this, you shouldn't be. As long as their parents stay in FayCo, then they will still be paying property taxes and their money will still be used to support our public schools. Their children being gone just means we have less kids to spread the dollars around on, which is a good thing. Homeschooling or putting your kid in private school does not exempt you from property taxes. FayCo public schools are without question some of the finest in the state, for both academics and extracurriculars. If they don't feel like its a good deal for their kids and they want to educate their children somewhere else at their additional expense it should be fine by us. Their property tax payments to the BOE will continue. Now if the BOE will use that money efficiently and wisely remains to be seen.......

g8trgrl
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What to cut to help balance school budget?

How about we start with cutting the Welcome Center? What do they do each day? Register one student? We can cut the FCBOE television station! We can cut the PR person or give them some other duties - she makes a lot of money for what little PR there is to do. I think an Assistant Superintendent could handle that. We can cut the high school ISS person being a certified teacher! They don't teach in there - how can the ISS person teach language or math if they are an English teacher - put one of the paras that just lost their job in there. Middle school has a para - huge savings! Who pays for the SRO officers in the middle schools? That position could be shared by one person for high school and middle.(maybe that comes out of Sheriff's budget - don't know).

Fifth grade band costs the county nothing. The high school director walks or drives over 2 times a week for 45 minutes. Wow - huge savings! If the Asst. Band Director loses their position, then the Band Director would not have the time I guess. At Fayette County High the Asst. Band Director has a PHD - where do you find that kind of qualification in a volunteer?

How many coaches does football have? Maybe some cuts could come there.....this is where volunteers would most likely really step in. Cutting 2 sports in middle school - really? How much can that possibly save?

ivy
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ISS

Can't make ISS a parapro --it serves as a "cover" position for the football coach. How would he have time to coach if we expected him to actually teach?

RRR
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Band Parent Volunteers

For one who has worked with bands in the past...
Many of the volunteers are working longer hours so their free time to help is dwindling as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6OhUws1ck&feature=youtu.be

No other county in the state can match the quality we have here in Fayette County. None. Facts to follow if needed.

fayettecountymom
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Keep Music in our Fayette Schools

Mr. Gauntt, you have eloquently summed up why music education of the caliber that we currently have in Fayette County is so vital to the success of not only the band programs, but to the success of the academic performances of these students. This is not a handful of students that we are talking about either. I have been told that an assistant band director comes into contact with, and teaches over 200 students each day.

For those who think that it's a "no brainer" to terminate the assistant band director, I'd like to share a glimpse of which programs rely on the expertise of both the band director and the assistant band director for their success locally, statewide and nationally.

Concert Band
Symphonic Band
Wind Ensemble
Jazz Band
Marching Band
Percussion Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensembles
Coaching for All-State
Governor's Honors Program
District Honor Band
College Scholarship Auditions
Individualized Instruction
Guest performances at local events
GMEA Statewide Leadership/Chairpersons
Brass Choir
Winter Guard
Summer Band Camp
Symphonic Band Camp
Large Group Performance Evaluations
Performing at prestigious university events
Fifth Grade Band Program (Unique to Fayette County Schools)
District Leadership positions

Send a plea for volunteers? Unless someone is a music major (Doctorate or Masters Degree preferred please), willing to put in 10 hour days (make that 12-14 hour days, 5-6 days a week during marching band season from mid July through early November) that our band directors and assistant band directors do...good luck with the success of the band programs. Frankly, I'm shocked at the suggestion that a Master's or Doctorate prepared assistant band director could be replaced by a volunteer, no matter how "talented" they were. How would it sit with you, after 6-10+ years of education, to have your career replaced by a volunteer? Clearly, you have no understanding of what these educators do.

Can someone explain to me why we are cutting 5th grade band? How does this save money? I was under the impression that these were taught by the high school band directors and assistant band directors. Oh right! It all goes back to getting rid of the high school assistant directors! Do you see the writing on the wall? First it's band and orchestra, then it's chorus. May as well get rid of the art teachers in every school while you're at it!

Yes, we elect school board officials to evaluate and determine the most efficient ways to use our tax dollars, but aren't they the same ones who have inefficiently used our tax dollars that got us in this budget situation in the first place? Perhaps this is where those volunteers will come in handy...running the FCBOE without taking a salary.

And yes, the school board officials are supposed to represent our interests. FCBOE...I hope you're seeing all of the opposition to your proposed budget cuts on the Facebook page: Stop FCBOE Fine Arts Funding Cuts and on the petition found at
http://www.change.org/petitions/fayette-county-board-of-education-recons...
Find a better solution!

Aztecgirl
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"No brainer to terminate assistant band directors"

No one is saying that, EXCEPT for the current fcboe. First they close schools, next they cut extra cirriculars, and then they will fire teachers...the board is not going to listen to the tax payers. Never have, never will.

stranger than f...
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What is your plan Aztecgirl?

How do you suggest that the FCBOE handle the budget shortfall? Would you raise taxes and keep all the programs intact? If not, which programs would you cut?

I hear your criticism, but I don't see your solution.

g8trgrl
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stranger than f.....- g8trgrl has a plan

I already posted some suggested cuts - what are your thoughts? My plan could save the Assistant Band Director position - called put a para in ISS in highschool. Certified teacher - $70,000 - para - $12,000 - no benefits! Could cover Asst. Band Director position - which is crucial to a successful band program. ISS - teacher in there? Not so crucial....

Welcome center - waste of money - school counselors could cover new students registering. PR person - $80,000 - Asst. Superintendent could cover that. 10 football coaches - some dads could cover that.

Thoughts - stranger than f.....?

stranger than f...
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These look like reasonable ideas

G8trgrl - Your suggestions seem feasible. I have no children in the Fayette County Schools system, so I am not knowledgeable enough about their day-to-day operations to make sweeping suggestions.

When I read Aztecgirl's complaint, I did not see that she was offering any solutions, but merely ranting. She may have some wonderful ideas; however, merely offering criticism seems completely unhelpful.

G35 Dude
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STF, Gr8trgrl, and ideas

At this point in time we can not afford to find cuts only to replace that savings with more costs. I.E. keeping certain extra curriculum. G8tgrls ideas are good and should be looked at but they don't come close to solving the deficit that the BOE faces. More cuts would still be needed. The only real answer to the extra curriculum problem is to pass the entire cost of the program on to the parents and let each decide for themselves if it's worth continuing.

There is a few things the Boe could do to help like provide free space, donate the equipment that it already owns, and allow transportation to transport these students at the same cost that it currently charges for field trips.

hutch866
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G35

As a long time band Dad, I can say except for the teachers, the parents already bear all the costs.

RRR
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Mmmmm
fayettecountymom wrote:

...... assistant band director comes into contact with, and teaches over 200 students each day.
.......

Mmmmm. How many kids does the assist. coaches come into contact with? Mmmmm.
Rumor or truth....WHS has 17 assist. coaches? MMmmmmmm. I would say that is quite a bargain the BOE is getting.

soundaround
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Follow up

While we know that all programs must all bear some brunt of the cuts, please note that home schooling has risen by 75% since 1999 and is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the future http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/number-of-homeschoolers-growing-n... One wonders what are the reasons some might uncover that could lead them to choose public schools over home schooling (or private). Does home schooling offer team-developing activities with the same attention to detail and competition as a marching band, a choral ensemble, a symphonic orchestra? I remain convinced that there are some programs that provide an essential component to our culture and our intellectual pursuits. Music instruction at the highest levels, which can inspire an instrumentalist or vocalist to learn the nuances of their instrument, are vital. Parent volunteers cannot provide the same level of quality instruction as a trained assistant director (some of which pursue doctoral degrees while they teach full-time). We will reap what we sow and what we plow under; and so will our community.

flwrgrl
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Parent Volunteers

Unfortunately, the economy has hit volunteers also. As a former PTO President, current band parent and long-time volunteer in Fayette County schools, I can attest to the fact that each year the pool of volunteers has grown smaller due to our economy. I, along with a majority of the other Moms I have worked with and recruited in the past, have had to return to the work world. It's like a "Perfect Storm" of events that has conspired to cut the available pool of volunteers just at the time when it is needed most in the schools. Maybe some retired teachers or community members can step up to take our place, but I no longer have the luxury of being a full-time volunteer.

stranger than f...
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So what DO we cut?

Mr. Gauntt makes a strong case for music education in the public schools. I will guess that others can argue for the retention of other programs as well when cuts in these areas are suggested. Indeed, the putative reason for all programs in existence in the Fayette County School system is for the benefits they offer to our students.

So what exactly do we cut? If we have a current shortfall in revenue and a projected deficit in years to come, the books must be balanced. I see no appetite in Fayette County for tax hikes to raise revenue. We elect school board members to represent our interests in evaluating and determining the most efficient ways to use our school tax dollars. I can't imagine that they will find a way to trim the budget without deleting programs that are important to students.

I wish them Solomonic wisdom and a thick skin!

suggarfoot
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well said stf

I too wish for the ones making the hard decisions, " Solomonic wisdom and thick skin".

Husband and Fat...
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STF - Music & Other Programs

I agree with both you and Mr. Gauntt. Music can play a very important role in a childs overall education. And unlike some sports, one can use this training and brain power the rest of their lives.

We know we have to balance the budget. Schools are already closing, the workforce will be reduced and busing will change.

Its a no brainer for the assistant band directors positions to be eliminated.

We also know that each of the schools PTO has stepped up their game and they are to be commended for helping where and when needed. FC has a lot of talented people. Some of these people are retired, housewives, or husbands who may be more than happy to volunteer their time and knowledge to pick up the some of the slack.

What is stopping the BOE from issuing a plea to the residents to see if there are any volunteers that might be willing to step up and help. I bet we could find someone that could assist the band director and perhaps find help in other avenues that could possibly save certain programs.

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