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As School Budgets Tighten, Music and Art Suffer
HUBER HEIGHTS -- Twelve Miami Valley school districts did not pass school levies during elections this November and that means the start of cuts in dozens of schools. ABC 22/FOX 45 reporter Hilary Zalla found out most schools decide to reduce or eliminate music and art classes first. But, why?
"Between reading, math, science and social studies, those are core components that we cannot reduce. So, what happens is other programs get reduced or eliminated. When there is only so many dollars in the budget the priority has to become the core academic areas," said Susan Gunnell, superintendent of Huber Heights City Schools.
In Ohio operating standards, schools must keep a ratio amount of all classes and positions. Gunnell said Huber Heights is down to the very minimal standards of music and art classes.
Huber Heights City Schools' levy failed for the fourth time this past election. The elementary schools do not have art and only have music class once a week. Similarly, Vandalia-Butler City Schools offer music and art for 12 weeks, twice a week, in elementary schools. It is the same story for many other Miami Valley school districts. The concern has become whether cutting these programs will affect students' grades or behavior. Most teachers in these schools try to incorporate music and art into their daily curriculum.
"What we're finding is kids don't even have the skills of coloring. Art is math, it's patterns, and if they can learn both I think that helps them understand better," said Dale Patterson, third grade teacher at Valley Forge Elementary in Huber Heights. Patterson spends his own money to buy the art supplies for his class and incorporates art and creative thinking exercises throughout the school day.
"Without music and art, they have no way of expressing themselves in school. If they don't have music and art in school, how will they get it?" said Patterson.
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