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MB Music Coalition's Response to Budget

Cuts Made to High School Music

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Dear Music Community,


It is with great disappointment that we are letting you know that our efforts to stop Resolution 2021-07, and its elimination of 0.4 FTE to the high school music program, were unsuccessful. By a vote of 3 to 2, the Resolution passed. 


We want to thank each and every one of you who wrote public comments in support of music. Our gratitude is profound, and we know it was not in vain. 


To the astoundingly talented students of the MBUSD music program: We share your frustration and indeed astonishment that the program that serves you and the community so well is continually under siege. Thank you for sharing your stories and speaking up for music. The words that you wrote matter. The graphic that accompanies this letter is our small way of honoring them. We have taken all your words - students, parents and community supporters - submitted in opposition to Resolution 2021-07 and memorialized them to encapsulate why we cannot give up. Know that we are all incredibly proud of the outstanding musicians and, more importantly, extraordinary people you have become.


To the exceptional music faculty: Our mission is to support you. We cannot fathom why such a short-sighted and counterproductive blow would be inflicted at a time when you all are pouring your hearts and souls into teaching your students under near-impossible conditions. There are painful days ahead as the callous yet predictable effects of the Resolution are imposed. As a united music community, we will weather the coming storm together. 


For those of us in band and choir, this moment is especially poignant coming as it does almost exactly a year after we lost the Italy and DC trips. For us, and we know for many of you, those wounds feel opened up again, and we are made raw by the rub of this new disappointment. But we take comfort in the fact that there were two Board Members who recognized the value of the music program, and advocated strongly for it. If you wish to express a private sentiment of thanks to them, we would heartily welcome it. 


Many of you may be concerned about the impact this will have on your families. We encourage you to express those concerns and to keep sharing your stories of love for music in our schools. We take heart that 40% of the Board members were prepared to reject, for the first time in living memory, the perpetual cycle of cuts that seem to happen at this time every year, only for most or all of the cuts be rescinded come summer as net revenues end up higher than projected, as has happened 9/10 times over the past decade. This destructive cycle needs to end.


Even some Board members who voted for the Resolution expressed hope that they would have reason to rescind these cuts to music and other programs in the months ahead. We agree they should be rescinded sooner rather than later, though there are no guarantees this will happen. Indeed, music was one of the few programs that did not wholly benefit from that act of grace last year. Rather, the majority of last year’s cuts to music were never rescinded. Our first and second grade students were left without music instruction this year, a time when it would have been especially valuable to them, and could have provided consolation and joy. In addition, elementary instrumental assistants were never brought back even though they were sorely needed to help 4th and 5th grade students grapple with the frustrations of learning music online. We therefore must remain wary of any suggestion that we should wait to be saved from the injurious effects of these cuts. Instead we will continue to press for firm and concrete action to rescind them. 


This is not the time for giving up. Instead, we will find a new way forward. We will not be deterred from continuing to advocate loudly for our students, teachers, program and the community. If you are inclined to support us in those efforts, please visit MBMusicCoalition.org. There are so many ways you can join in our efforts, such as getting involved in planning our upcoming events, signing up for our newsletters, using our Parent Resources, and much more. 


As always, your continued support for music education in MBUSD is deeply appreciated.


The Manhattan Beach Music Coalition


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