Music program to be restored

By Dick Mason, The Observer June 14, 2013 10:17 am
The Union School Board hit a high note for music Wednesday.

The board voted to adopt a 2013-14 budget that calls for the school district’s music program to be restored. The school district has not had a music program the past two years because of budget problems. The 2013-14 budget provides funding for a full-time music teacher who will work at both the high school and elementary school.

Interim School District Superintendent Mike Wood is delighted that music will be returning. This means that in upcoming years Union students again will be giving concerts, taking part in competitions and performing at public events.

“It will be good for the community and a rallying point for the school district,’’ Wood said. “We have a fine arts program but now we have performing arts back in the form of music.’’

The school district’s music program suffered a crippling blow in January 2011 when its popular music teacher David Opperman died at age 46. Opperman’s position was left vacant because of budget problems.

School district officials have had many people ask that music be restored since then. Wood said he is glad to be able to respond to their request.

The school district will be restoring music without increasing its total number of teaching positions. This will be done by moving the school district’s elementary school physical education teacher into an elementary classroom teaching position to fill a vacancy. The open physical education teacher position will be converted into a music teacher position. 

Elementary school classroom teachers will provide physical education instruction for their students in the absence of a PE teacher.

The 2013-14 budget adopted by the school board Wednesday is for $3.907 million and calls for no layoffs or program cuts. The budget includes an increase of $260,000 in state revenue. The increase was made possible by additional funding expected to be provided to schools by the state. 

The Legislature is close to approving a school budget of $6.55 billion for the 2013-15 biennium. The budget will provide school districts with their first increase in funding in several years. 

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