Speaking of schools, I am wrapping up two years as Chair of the Music Makes Us Advisory Council and pass it over to Brian Sexton, who has served as Vice Chair for the last two years. Brian is a fantastic community leader and will be a fantastic leader of this initiative. This is an area I’m passionate about and like many of you I’m sure, my experience in band and music programs in school was the most formative and impactful growing up. I want to help ensure kids have the same, if not greater, opportunities that I had.
The last two years have been difficult as we all know. The impact to schools, reflected in the $22.6 million less we received from the State due to reduced enrollment, is something that is occurring all over and has also impacted music and arts programming. Reduced enrollment means principals must make hard decisions on staffing and funding internally for each school.
This has impacted McGavock High School’s program this year, as well as Oliver Middle School, which is going through a frustrating experience of high turnover and leadership issues that has also impacted their highly regarded middle school program. One effort is that we are working on recruitment efforts at feeder schools to help rebuild their programs.