The Hornet County Parent Teacher Association applauds the Board's recent decision to provide funds for new school buses. As parents, we are pleased that the Board recognizes the importance of safeguarding our children, not only in the school buildings, but also on the roads. Students are precious cargo—they should travel in the safest equipment our district can afford. There should be no argument about the need for, or benefits of, new buses. We appreciate the difficult task the Board faces in finding funds in an already strained budget. This, however, could not reduce how discouraged we felt when the Board of Education voted last night to eliminate all
funding for the fine arts program. The proposed loss of such an important program is appalling.
While it is always difficult to lose a successful program that positively affects countless students, it is especially disturbing because at the same time the Board has chosen to take away all funding for the fine arts programs, it has also chosen to reduce funding for athletic programs by only five percent.
Over the past five years, Hornet County has seen major cuts in funding for fine arts courses in areas such as art, drama, choir, and music. The fine arts department has already lost six teaching positions. Even with reduced budgets and staff, the arts programs have continued to present award-winning art exhibits, plays, choir performances, and band concerts.
During this same period of budget cuts throughout the fine arts department, the athletics department has experienced only minor funding cuts.
We a re not disputing that the sports programs in Hornet County have a positive impact on students. Our students need to develop self-confidence and learn the importance of teamwork. Sports programs keep our students physically fit and foster a spirit of healthy competition. However, these benefits are not unique to athletics.
The marching band competes with other district bands for top ranking in the state. Self-confidence grows just as easily on the stage as it does on the soccer field, and no choir can sing in harmony without teamwork. Not all students are athletically inclined. Music, drama, and art can be their outlet to gain recognition. Promoting both sports and fine arts expands the
benefits to as many students as possible.
Students who learn to play an instrument achieve higher scores on math and science tests. On average, students who play instruments score 100 points higher on college entrance exams than those who do not. Studies have also proven that music makes people feel less anxious and lonely. Music and other fine arts programs are critical factors in helping teenagers cope with stress.
Drama programs teach students how to listen and communicate effectively. Attendance at school drama performances rivals the attendance at most sporting events. These programs present our schools in the best light as well as foster the development of well-rounded
Our schools' visual arts programs allow students to showcase their talents through annual exhibits. Studies show that individuals who participate in visual arts programs demonstrate a greater sense of well-being and an improved ability to express themselves effectively.
The Board of Education has shown its dedication to our children. However, the Board should reconsider the funding cuts that it has proposed. Cutting the athletics budget by only five percent and the fine arts programs by one hundred percent is not fair.
We strongly recommend that the Hornet County Board of Education reconsider its decision to eliminate the fine arts program in our community. The Board should not try to balance the budget at the expense of one program alone.
A. Since funding for the fine arts programs has already been reduced, funding for athletic
programs should be reduced instead. B. The Hornet County Parent Teacher Association is dissatisfied with the Board of Education’s
budgetary decisions. C. The schools’ fine arts programs are essential for student development and should not be cut
from the budget.