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Citizens battle cuts to arts in schools

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 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.

Comments

PatrickY2K 2 years, 2 months ago

The DCSS will reimburse bail money, but will they continue to fund the arts and physical education?

When the Board vote ends in a tie because Williams-Brown abstains, will the tie go to cutting the programs, or to continuing the programs?

Coaching supplements were cut drastically two or three years ago. If they are cut again, some coaches would do better to work at McDonald's than coach.

The $9 million+ shortfall isn't a surprise. Out of professional courtesy, cuts to the budget that will eliminate jobs should have been made months ago, instead of having teachers leave for the summer not knowing if they will have a job next year. "Professional" is the opposite of "winging it."

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waltspecht 2 years, 2 months ago

Time to look at all the competative teams these Schools support. If there isn't any money, those teams should receive the first cut. That includes their Coaches. Whether it be a Debate Team or a Football Team. Without Teams, there is no need for Bands. That doesn't mean there is no need to teach Music. Get rid of the fluff first, then the things that have the least impact on the learning. I know someone is going to say that Football is the only reason some kids come to school. If that is a fact, then there is definately something wrong. Physicial Education needs to return to what it was, a riggerous half hour workout for students that are leading a sedimentary life style. It will definately help their health.

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whattheheck 2 years, 2 months ago

With you one this one. Coaches salaries in the $100k range are not unusual. How much of that money is strictly for coaching vice also instructional isn't known. Wish the Herald would put a price tag on sports costs--have never seen such.

If some kids only go to school for sports, give them a set of drums to beat up on. We aren't sending kids to school to be the next UGA running back in training.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, too many of the LOCALS see SPORTS as THEIR ONLY WAY OUT.............not realizing that getting OUT without any LIFE SKILLS will only lead to disaster for the majority.........that is.....if they make it through 5 years of the University. Most don't.........

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

What FOOL proposed this INSANITY??????........oh, never mind, I know actually...... : (

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chinaberry25 2 years, 2 months ago

Look at the other side of the coin. The connections classes will be replaced with what? It will take away teacher planning period and teachers will have no time to prepare lessons. Hence grades will fall. What do they plan to teach during the hour if they take away all of these courses. It also gives the children a breather away from the hum drum of class because they do not get recess anymore. Teachers need to form a union to help them with matters like this. They say it is unlawful in Georgia, but that can be overturned.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 2 months ago

You also do not need 20+ cheerleaders in every high school. This costs big bucks too. Soccer teams are not as accepted as football. Who goes to soccer and softball?

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 2 months ago

They keep cheating the kids out of diffrent things.If they would all stop stealing from the kids,they would not have to cut things.And go back to books,the computers cost to much.

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