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Budget crunch worries school music educators

Shrinking budgets may be causing some school districts to cut music programs like band, choir and music classes.
Mary Schaefle, executive director of the Minnesota Music Educators Association, told the St.

Shrinking budgets may be causing some school districts to cut music programs like band, choir and music classes.

Mary Schaefle, executive director of the Minnesota Music Educators Association, told the St. Cloud Times that the number of music teachers in kindergarten through grade 12 schools has shrunk about 15 percent since 2000, when there were 2,500 music instructors.

“We understand there needs to be cuts, with funding the way it is. We are looking for those cuts to be equitable across subject areas,” Schaefle said.

Said the paper:

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Music teachers say they have seen their programs shrink as school districts confront budget shortfalls and growing emphasis on reading, math and science. The teachers say all school instruction is important and worry that music will be lost as school budgets tighten.

“I think the pressure is put on more. Music educators have to justify their place in the school,” said Gordon Schlicting, who is in his 13th year as the band instructor at Sartell High School.

But not everyone thinks there have been unfair cuts.

Greg Vandal, superintendent at Sauk Rapids-Rice and Eden Valley-Watkins school districts, told the paper that administrators aren’t trying to eliminate music or the arts. Music teachers want more music, but math and phy ed teachers want more of their specialties, too, he said.