I’ve had one thing on my mind since we first heard of the drastic cuts being proposed by the Upper Darby School District.
What would Brad Schoener think?
Schoener was the beloved director of music at Upper Darby High School. He died in 2009 after a five-year battle with cancer. But not before leaving a musical legacy in the hundreds of young lives he touched, instilling in them a love of music and life.
Each year the district holds a one-day music festival in his memory at which students can mingle with music professionals. All funds from the daylong event benefit the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation.
Today Schoener might be rolling over in its grave.
Faced with a $4 million budget shortfall, the school district is proposing some drastic cuts, including condensing art, music and library into regular classrooms.
That’s not the way Schoener went about his job. But increasingly it is the way more and more districts are likely going to have to do things amid unrelenting funding cuts.
As you might expect, the cuts are not sitting well with parents. A “Save the Music in Upper Darby” Facebook page has already popped up, giving parents a place to vent. CLICK HERE to see how concerned the community is already.
I encourage students and parents also to comment on stories posted here on DelcoTimes.com, and also to write their legislators.
One parent, Amy Reynolds, might have summed up the situation best.
“The music program is the crown jewel of Upper Darby School District. It all starts at the elementary level. How else would students get involved at the middle school or high school?”
The school board will present its budget plan on May 1. You can bet the place will be packed.
And that Brad Schoener will be there as well, if only in spirit.