Over the past few months the Sachem Board of Education has listed the district's expansive music program as a potential area where it may have to make cuts and now a Sachem parent has launched an online petition to stop that from happening.
Michele Favaro, of Ronkonkoma, has launched a petition on the aggregate site Change.org, entitled "Save Our Music Program." The petition has gathered more than 370 signatures, and comes complete with an open letter to the district's Board of Education. The letter reads, in part:
Is the Board of Education really ready to say that our children deserve "the state minimum" for their education?
I can say that the Sachem Central School District parents are not going to say that our children only deserve the "state minimum". They deserve the opportunities that a fully rounded music education provides them.
I ask that look at your line items in the budget again and find ways to reduce costs that does not decimate any entire program such as music education.
In addition to the signatures, many Sachem residents have left comments on the petition page.
Tom Laiacona, a Farmingville residents writes: "Both of my sons are products of the music program at Sachem and are now living good lives with sucessful careers. Music DOES make a difference and should not be cut no matter what the cost."
Katie Kanakos, a Holbrook native, adds: "Music at Sachem was almost my whole life while I was there... and it was worth every second for increasing my creativity, analytical thinking, and self-confidence. I hope you'll reconsider."
The Board of Education has stated that it will not make any final decisions until it hears back definitively from New York State regarding Albany's plan for state aid to Sachem.
New York State law requires music as part of the education curriculum but only requires that it be taught in a classroom setting. Marching bands, jazz bands, competitions and extracurricular music programs are not required, but many schools in New York, including Sachem, have instituted such programs as a way of expanding student knowledge and appreciation for music. However, with a looming $24 million budget shortfall and the district hoping to meet residents half way on the tax levy to 8%, the district's music program could be in jeopardy of taking a deep cut.
If you wish to view the petition, click here.