BLACKFOOT, Idaho - The Blackfoot School District said it will not cut its music program at the Blackfoot sixth-grade elementary school. This comes after rumors started that suggested the district would end the band program.
Superintendent Chad Struhs took to Facebook and issued this statement:
"There have been rumors about the sixth-grade band program in Blackfoot School District for next year. It is disconcerting that there are unsubstantiated rumors stating that the district is trying to remove such a vital program. I wanted to let you know these are rumors. The removal of the band program at the 6th grade has not been taken to school board nor is the board considering removing this program. On the contrary, we are working on a sizable federal grant in order to increase instrumental music in our schools. Blackfoot School District knows and supports the importance of music in educating students."
John Randall is the middle school music director. He said he is grateful to hear the school district will be keeping band as an elective for sixth graders.
"The rumors we heard was that they were going to restructure the sixth grade and they were going to take it from a middle school setting to an elementary setting and eliminate electives all together. When we did hear the rumors they were cutting it we were surprised because the administration was always supportive," Randall said.
The district is applying for an arts and education federal grant. The district could receive up to $250,000 and would add a strings program, purchase music sheets, instruments and add more employees.
"My position is new this year. This is the first year that we have a grant writer. There was some interest in having strings within our school system so we had some parents and the music program come in and we visited with them. We thought what some viable options were so we can make this happen," said Joy Mickelsen, grant writer.
Right now, band is not offered until sixth grade. A string program has never been an option for students. The district should know by late May if it has received the money. The district has received more than four grants within the last two weeks.
Some of that money will go to after school programs.