Albany Museum of Art Executive Director Nick Nelson talks to a group of concerned citizens Thursday about proposed cuts in the Dougherty County School System’s FY2012-13 budget that would eliminate funding for art and music programs in the system’s schools.
ALBANY, Ga. — Alarmed by possible elimination of arts and music programs within the Dougherty County School System, a group of concerned citizens gathered Thursday on Broad Avenue to discuss how to convince the DCSS to spare the programs.
Faced with an anticipated $9.6 million shortfall in the upcoming FY2012-13 budget, DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree earlier this month presented a proposed list of $9.6 million in cuts and other savings — including $370,000 in non-mandated programs such as elementary foreign languages, art, music and Physical education.
“Art is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Albany Museum of Art Executive Director Nick Nelson told the gathering. “I’ve been to other art shows around the state and the work the kids do here in Albany’s schools incredible. Art is beyond painting and drawing. The kids make the rules. Art is really all about good judgment.
“I care very deeply about this and would hate to lose it.”
Lynn Kennedy urged the people, “if you don’t know who your school board member is, find out, then call him or her and express your concern.”
Juby Phillips, who is helping organize the group, was pleased with the turnout.
“I think the meeting went really great and gives us something to work on.” Phillips said. “I realize we are working against a tight deadline and only have two weeks to work on this, but it might spur some into action.
“I am really distressed over this particular budget cut.”
Teachers will once bear the brunt of much of the cost cutting as Murfree’s proposal would save the system $3.3 million by using six furlough days — a reduction from 10 days the past two years.
State law requires that school districts must submit balanced budgets to the state by June 30.