UPDATE: It appears the strings program we wrote about below may have had a stay of execution. Read all about it here in the Post and Courier.
The school district released this statement:
“We thank the community for the outpouring of interest and support we have received regarding the ‘elementary strings’ programs in our schools. In response to a communication that many parents received yesterday (January 3, 2017) related to discontinuing the programs in some of our elementary schools. We want you to know that this communication was released prematurely, before the matter had been discussed with senior district staff, the superintendent, and the Board of Trustees. CCSD is fully committed to continuing and even expanding the strings program and is resolutely determined to locate highly capable strings instructors for our students.”
While it may not be a permanent fix, at least it buys the program some time. And clearly, the voices of the arts supporters in the community were heard, loud and clear.
Our previous post regarding the program:
Once again, in the face of looming budget shortfalls, the arts are on the chopping block.
This time, it’s the elementary strings programs, which teaches violins and violas to children in Charleston County. The eliminations begin in just weeks, starting with several schools in West Ashley and James Island, and will shutter all by the end of the school year.
According to the Post and Courier, “The district hopes to use its limited resources to bolster the middle and high school strings programs, which meet during regular periods for class credit.”
While bolstering the middle and high school programs sounds nice, if there is no elementary feeder program, it certainly seems those will dry up in a few years.
The $18 million shortfall is very real budget crisis. And certainly there are other areas taking a hit beyond the arts. More than 100 teacher positions and and 80 office positions have been eliminated. But any time you see the arts cut, it begs the questions: Was this necessary? Or are the arts viewed as expendable, a luxury?
They are neither. Those children learning the strings are having a valuable building block of the complete student taken away. We hope the school district will reconsider this move, and hope you will consider attending a school board committee meeting on Monday and a full meeting on Jan. 23.
Because arts matter.