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Germantown School Board approves summer band program

May 30, 2012

Germantown - The Germantown School Board unanimously decided last week that the summer band program will return this summer.

About 50 people were in attendance to see what the board would decide after a heated debate at the May 19 School Board meeting that left the question of summer band's role in the district unanswered.

The summer program will return as part of the curriculum with certain stipulations that clarify it as a summer class to meet the Department of Public Instruction's criteria defining a summer school program.

"It's helping us clarify the program based on changes that have happened in terms of what is aidable and not," Superintendent Sue Borden said. "So, when we're putting out publications, when we're enrolling students, we're all using the same language from the band instructors, to the principals and the district office."

The Wall of Sound Clinic is an extension of curriculum offered during first semester. Students in the Wall of Sound are the same students enrolled in Wind Symphony in the fall. Because of an unsafe decibel level in the high school band room when the students move from the outside to the inside in fall, the program has been limited to 100 students via auditions.

Auditions eliminated

The board voted to implement prerequisites and eliminate auditions. The prerequisites will determine what students can be in the program. Borden said the prerequisites still have to be decided, but they should help keep the number of students at 100.

"That's something that we will have to work with the band instructors on and we will also work with the middle school band instructors," she said.

Borden consulted with legal counsel following the May 19 meeting to obtain a legal opinion on the Wall of Sound Clinic and its eligibility for state aid. The board approved all the stipulations for the band program in accordance with the advice from legal counsel.

Legal counsel had two main concerns, which were previously debated by the board in relation to the summer clinic meeting aid criteria. The first was to ensure the clinic was open to all district students including children who are home-schooled and in private schools, as well as full-time Open Enrolled students outside of the district.

Boosters control fundraising

In order for the summer program to be fully qualified for aid, legal counsel advised the district to not charge a fee other than a minimal material fee, which was voted as $35 at the meeting. This fee includes consumable items, such as water. The $50 co-curricular fee was discontinued.

Also clarified last week was language stating that fundraising for band programs is not done through the district, but is at the discretion of the Warhawk Band Boosters. Borden said the district must also ensure all publicized materials pertaining to summer band clearly state the program is open to all students.

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