Parents lobby against music cuts

Published on: 4/28/2009

With several staff cuts potentially on the table as part of the Greendale School District's 2009-10 budget process, some parents want to ensure the music program remains intact.

Several parents addressed the School Board on April 27 and urged members to consider the benefits of the program before eliminating any positions.

Parent Kent Brodie said the district's high level of music participation is something that sets it above others throughout Wisconsin. If the district starts removing positions, however, "In a couple years, Greendale is going to be just another school district," he said.

The music department has 7.8 full-time equivalent teachers districtwide.

Julie Grotophorst, human resources and community relations director, noted full-time Choral Music Department Director Arthur Jaehnke is poised to retire at the end of this year, and his position has been posted as part time.

Other possible staffing changes include a proposal to reduce elementary/middle school full-time equivalent music teachers by 0.4. Music lessons could be restructured from groups of four to groups of six to seven students.

Other possibilities being explored include offering parent-funded before- and after-school lessons through the Park and Recreation Department, no longer mandating music at the middle-school level and increasing class sizes.

Preliminary layoff notices have been issued to some music department staff, Grotophorst said, but she would not say how many. She emphasized that although those teachers have not received new contracts at this time, they could still be hired back next year, depending on enrollment and other factors.

No decisions on proposed staffing changes have been made. The School Board will continue to discuss the preliminary budget over the next two months. The public will have opportunities to provide input at several budget listening sessions.

Julie Becker can be reached at (262) 446-6606.