Bella Barricklow Guest Writer
The graduation requirements for students, starting with the class of 2015, has been more heavily focused on core academics. In addition to the requirements for world language, personal fitness, health, and one credit for art, there is not much room in students’ schedules for any other art or music classes.
“All these things the kids need to graduate, by nature are squeezing arts out of kids,” said the Performing Arts Department Chair, David Leach. “Selection processes and graduation requirements determine how many staff are assigned at Pioneer for [FTE].”
Leach said that the loss in fine arts related FTE may not necessarily be because of budget cuts. “We were going to experience at least one full-time equivalent loss or more when they opened Skyline,” said Leach.
After cuts were made for the 2013-14 school year, the total FTE for the arts for Pioneer is 7.1, while Huron has a total FTE of 7.36. Skyline’s total art FTE is 5.7 while Community’s is 3.
Leach said he personally feels that having more full-time staff is better. “I think it’s always best to have people invested in the building,” said Leach, “It’s better for the entire culture.”
Despite the fact that there is less funding for the music programs, it is still a significant experience for students. Zhang said that even though the proposed cuts are looming, the class is still enriching. “Orchestra activities like Interlochen and tour gave us some worry because of said budget cuts,” Zhang said. “I think that Mr. Glawe is doing a great job keeping us focused on what we do with music and still providing us with excellent resources.”
Cutting the theatre program at Pioneer was another suggestion to make up for the lack of money in the district’s budget. Originally, the Board of Education wanted to cut all funding for this extracurricular. Emily Uhlmann, a participating actress in Pioneer’s theatre program has been speaking out against financial cuts. “It’s just not fair for the school board to cut so much of our funding that we can’t reach our full potential,” Uhlmann said.
After protest from the student body, the final decision was to reduce the amount of funding and let the Pioneer Theatre Guild families pay $50,000 of their own money to keep the Theatre technician. “Our budget for food was drastically cut, which isn’t the end of the world,” Uhlmann said. “The big thing is the completely unfair decision to make Pioneer Theatre Guild reimburse the school board for [Pioneer’s Theatre Technician] Mysti Plummer’s salary.”
Though music is not required to graduate, Leach said it really shows kids the concept of a team dynamic. “I think it teaches kids to think differently,” he said. “Music is a collaborate art form.”