Making sure the music doesn't die

March 23, 2019 12:00 AM

ROTTERDAM - At Mohonasen High School Friday night, there was a comedy stage performance put on by students. But after the show, a real life drama began playing throughout the community.

The stage performance of the musical comedy The Addams Family comes at a time when the district is facing a $2 million budget shortfall. To close the gap, there is talk in the community that the curtain may have to come down on parts of the school district's music program.


In a community where award-winning musicals and musicians have been nourishing souls for generations, the thought of lopping off parts of the music curriculum is nauseating to the stomach.

"My daughter is in the 8th grade and one of the reasons we moved into this district is actually for the music," said district parent Heather Howe.

Howe says cutting music staff and programs would be devastating to many families, sentiments that are seconded by Raphel Peralta.

"My initial reaction was no they're not," Peralta, whose four children are involved in Mohonasen music programs, asserted. "Music has an impact on math, music has an impact on the children's social (development), how they get along with their peers. There's so much more to music then just music."

Mohonasen School Superintendent Shannon Shine acknowledges there are "some significant financial challenges" in the district. He says over the next few weeks the district will be considering many ways to close a $2 million budget hole, including the possibility of eliminating 20% of the music staff.

"We've been getting a lot of feedback that this is a music community," Shine stated, "I have to say, it's one of the best music districts I've ever seen. So I'm a huge fan and yet I'm tasked with the unenviable duty, along with the board of education, to say, "How can be control these expenses?"

When asked what she would do if she was in the superintendent's shoes, Peralta said she'd "talk to the state." But Shine countered by saying,"It seems slim at the moment that the legislature (at a time when the state estimates a multi-billion revenue shortfall) will come through with additional foundation aid."

To make sure the music doesn't die, the community is now coming together because, no matter what, their shows must go on.

They're expecting a large crowd Monday night when the Mohonasen Board of Education meets to discuss possible remedies to their budget dilemma.


Dan Levy

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