Plan jeopardizes band opportunities

I am a freshman at the Elk River High School and a current member of the Elk River Band Program there. So far this year I have had the amazing chance to go to numerous honor bands at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, St. Thomas University and Augsburg College in the Twin Cities. I have also gotten the chance to go the jazz festival at the University Wisconsin-Eau Claire. All of these wonderful opportunities were given to me by my band director Mr. Rosner, who over the last year has made me a better musician and taught me many lessons about life, the history and culture of this nation, and above all else, taken a band program that has almost no support at all and turned it into one of the best band programs in Central Minnesota. And this same band director’s job is getting split between Elk River High School and Zimmerman Elementary School because of budget cuts that have continually plagued the Elk River arts department for the last few years. Any band program that has the number of students enrolled as Elk River High School would have two or more band directors; all Elk River High School needs is one. So my question is this: Why can we cut funding to the arts and the band programs if arts students are 10 percent more likely to get into the college of their choice? Another question: If there was a part-time band director at the high school, how could we have a jazz band, perform at a number of community events and concerts, play at football, hockey or basketball games, or even have a future band program at the high school that is as good as it is right now? — Jake Griffiths, Elk River