Concerned Citizens Oppose Cutting Elementary School Orchestra Program

At 7 p.m. last night at the Northfield High School media center, several dozen concerned students, parents, music educators and other community members appeared at an open work session of the Northfield School Board, and about a dozen spoke in passionate opposition to a budget proposal which would eliminate the elementary school orchestra program. The proposal is to shift the program to the Community Services Division, making it an after-school, fee-for-service program. Many of the speakers expressed their belief that this course of action would cut the string program at its roots, heralding the eventual demise of the entire program.

Kari Nelson, board chair, apologized for a scheduling conflict between the upcoming community hearing session on the budget proposals, to be held at the high school auditorium on March 9, and the middle school orchestra concert. She stated that when the meeting was set, it was not known that an issue of orchestra funding would be on the agenda. Zack Pelletier, elementary and middle school orchestra teacher, said that efforts were being made to reschedule the concert. Ms. Nelson urged all concerned citizens to feel free to contact board members by telephone, mail, or by e-mail via Superintendent Chris Richardson, and said that not being at this next meeting in person would not diminish their voices.