We are the parents of two children who are working very hard to be a part of both the band and the choir at the Elk River High School. Many of you may not know that they are unable to advance in band while staying in the choir. Last year there were six “combo” students. Only one is continuing on as a “combo” student next year. All others have made the difficult choice of one group over the other. The senior combo student is the only one who is able to be in choir first hour and Wind Symphony second hour. Other combo students do not have the time during the day to be involved in both groups and get their required school credits in. Having Mr. Terrell Beaudry, the choir teacher, at the High School for only one hour a day severely effects the ability of students to continue in the arts program as they wish. Now, due to budget cuts, it appears that the school is trying to make their continued musical education even more difficult. How can we continue to promote the Elk River High School as an Arts Magnet program when being a part of the arts is looked upon as not important? How can we as parents think that our music students are being supported when staff members are continually cut? After meeting with middle school teachers two years ago, parents in the district really thought that the school board was supporting our Arts program by working with these teachers to build up the music program in the middle schools and eliminate the study hall option. Band and choir numbers have risen in the last two years. To what end? If the suggested cuts are made to the high school program, all the progress we have made over the last two years is for naught. What a waste of budgeted money. Beaudry is currently at the high school for one hour a day. In that one hour, he teaches around 60 students of differing ages and abilities. He is unable to meet with students on a one-on-one basis to help them improve. Freshman students are rarely given the opportunity for solos, as they are reserved for the upperclassmen. Upperclassmen are not trained in doing solos, as they were not given the experience to solo as younger students, thus creating a void. There are limited opportunities for students to perform in small groups. I truly believe that Beaudry is a wonderful teacher. He communicates well with the students and they respect his musical ability. But he is limited in what he is able to do by the one hour he is in the classroom. This same limitation is now being put on John Rosner. The band program has grown by leaps and bounds in the two years that Rosner has been full time at the high school. Two jazz bands, two symphony bands, and several small groups and individual attention to student soloists have made this a program to be proud of. You have seen the letters received by other schools. You have heard from others about the superiority of our students and groups in the MSHSL contests and competitions. Cutting Rosner’s hours will bring us back to what we have with the choir program. Limited opportunities for students to advance and succeed on both an individual and group level. I understand that in order to put in place all day every day kindergarten, which the voters in the district voted against, the school board is now looking to sacrifice the music program at both the kindergarten level and also at the High School level. Soon, there will be nothing left for music or arts education in Elk River. You will then lose, to school choice, all of those students who are involved in music. These are the AP students and CIS students, the Honor Society students and leaders in other programs. It is a documented fact that students who are involved in music are high achievers. Musicians are better able to process foreign languages. Just look at how many students desire to get in four years of language and music. It is not because they want to cause difficulty with the district, it is because they want to succeed. Students involved in music are busy, productive successful students that are an asset to our schools and our district. By continuing down this path you are jeopardizing the future success of this district and all the students it serves. Please, reconsider this course of action. — Brian and Lindsey Budahn, Elk River