This letter is in response to Pam Bigelow’s letter to the Keene Sentinel on Friday, Feb. 12 It is always nice to hear from past faculty members of the Winchester School, especially through the editorial pages of the local newspaper.
Pam made many points in her letter of how the benefits of extra music programs during the school day can help students. I have no doubt that it is true. As a part of the marching band in high school in Connecticut, I remember being a part of a special community of students who had the same interest as me.
During a 2016 budget meeting prior to school deliberative, the idea of bringing back an additional music program was introduced by Superintendent Jim Lewis and enthusiastically approved by the school board that was present.
Unfortunately, as a result of fewer students attending the Winchester School, our revenues are expected to be down dramatically next year. That additional music program was one of the proposed items that had to be put aside in our plan.
I feel that some of the points in Pam’s letter were misleading. Pam calls increases to the sports lines in the 2016 as “substantial.” The increases are as follows. $5,000 to introduce three additional sports teams. Those are cheer and boys and girls cross country. All are after-school programs and will help the district be eligible to join the local league. Right now, most of our coaches have to contact other schools to see if a game against Winchester can be added to their season.
The half-time music teacher that Pam proposes would cost the district, on average, $20,000.
As a part of the regular school week, every student has computer, art, physical education, library and music class as a part of their curriculum at the Winchester School. Every student, K-8.
The proposed budget for next year is responsible. It meets the districts needs and I urge Winchester voters to support it.
Also, as Pam requested, I, too, ask people to share your support of the music program with members of the Winchester School Board. Aside from the comment at this year’s deliberative session, I have not heard from one person.
Winchester School Board