Return to the Kitchens Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Posted by sherilynn (My Page) on
Sat, May 13, 06 at 0:25

Ladies and Gents: I've recently been approached to help fight a situation in my son's new high school band. This problem is NOT just in this school, but in many schools across the country. This problem is out of control and has awakened a sleeping giant...within myself, and I know in the parents at our high school.

Please help counsel me on how to fight this fight. I need ideas, talking points, solutions, advice, and directions. OK...First, I need to tell you my background, then the dilemma.

I was in band for 6 years in school a gazillion years ago. I have a very deeply ingrained opinion about fairness, hard work, the value of teamwork, and most importantly loyalty. I learned many of these character traits from my high school marching band training. Our band director believed all for one and one for all. Long before a President Bush announced "No child left behind," our band director was crying out, "No student will be left out that participates and works hard." Long before the military trained my husband that "No man is left behind," (usually), I learned it in band.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, our band was FANTABULOUS. We were a class act, Superior ratings every contest for years, were invited everywhere, many of us received scholarships, some had huge music careers, etc. ALL of us working together so well gave our Band an EXCELLENT reputation. To compliment that reputation, we had a Band Director that encouraged mass fund raising so we could take trips. It was that we all worked together so "WE" COULD "ALL GO" ON THE TRIPS that we were invited TO Play (Like the Macy's Day Parade in NY, or in the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans, etc...). Well, if we did NOT make enough money so we could ALL GO, then NO ONE WOULD GO. We then planned closer to home trips, etc. It was ALL AN ALL INCLUSIVE ATTITUDE, NOT EXCLUSIVE.

Now, THAT being said, THIS is what is transpiring at our local high school that I will be involved in for the next six years with my kiddos. I'll have two in band at one time, too. Some parents have three in band at once. OK...Here it is:

The Band Parents just had their first meeting for 2006~2007 School Year. My sister has been involved with this group for the past two years. She's been saying YOU HAVE to come to all the meetings because You'll want to. Well, I don't "really" want to, but it's so doggone expensive, I have to go. I can't afford to NOT go.

This year we had to pay Basic Fees for Marching Band Season ONLY, per Student is $317.00: which includes shoes, uniform rental, cleaning, band camp fee at the high school this summer, and "fair share" costs for music. This does not include the Drum line Fees for professional instructions that total an additional $600 PER CHILD. My son is on the Drum Line, so these are his fees: $917.00. This does NOT include the fees for uniform for Concert/Symphonic season. I expect another $200 bill or so to come our way. (Look, I expect fees to be a bit, but these are over the top, IMHO. I guess they're cheaper than bail...or a baby.... ahem...)

There are other fees for other groups, too. Like Flag Corps runs over $900/student a year, too, for uniforms, flags, etc.

These fees do NOT include any food, trips away or anything. So far, the fees are hefty, I think. But this is still not the major problem....

The Band President tried to rope me into a job right off but I told her that I was too much like a "Barbara Streisand to be involved. I'm anal and like things done right. I'm a control freak at times. You'll either love me or hate me, so why don't you just love me from a distance for the first year and I'll sit this one out? I will help out in a pinch." Well, my sister was standing there and said, "Believe her. She likes things done right and doesn't tolerate stupidity well. She's always been like that!" Well, My sister and I had a good laugh because I was purposefully trying to scare people away. We thought THAT will surely keep them from calling us to head up fundraising or something.

The Band Director called me anyway. She "saw" a new spokesperson in me to possibly tangle with this Lion of a Band Director that they do not know how to handle. I would bow out, but this is TOO close to my spinal fluid. I HATE seeing children left out. This Director is causing HUGE divisiveness and he is unresponsive to approaches they've made to him. He does not appear to care and NO one is reigning him in line.

This is where YOUR ADVICE comes into play. The entire board has been FREAKING out about how to handle the Band Director because he has HUGE, EXPENSIVE ideas and trips. He's a TRUE PRIMA DONNA. He's been state Band president, gazillion awards, etc...and he's going to retire in three years. Every year he has an EXPENSIVE TRIP/S to go on and these kids and parents are expected to come up with all of this money in addition to the regular fees. These trips are totally out of hand, too.

The Band President told me that the problem lies with the cost of the trips and how "exclusive: the trips have become. Many students cannot afford to go on these trips. She used this past year's trip to London. We live in the NE part of Florida and flew out of JIA here. The 6 night/7 day trip cost EACH student $2,200. Initially it was to be $2,000, but gas increased and they added on the additional $200 at the last minute or you couldn't go. Literally three days before they were to fly out of town. How many of the band students went to perform? NOT EVEN HALF OF THEM WENT. Yet ALL of them were REQUIRED to do the Fund raisers. Some fund raisers were held so all profits went to the students individual accounts, yet many went to the general fund for new instruments, etc. KEY POINT: EACH TRIP IS FREE FOR THE BAND DIRECTOR AND SPOUSE. How does this happen? Well, the BAND DIRECTOR SAYS SO.

An email flyer went out the other day. This year he has TWO TRIPS planned. The following year ONE Big trip. His email flyer wants everyone's approval for the trips. NO OTHER OPTIONS...JUST A GROUP "OK" FROM THE STUDENTS.

What are this year's trips? Atlanta $700 (five hours up the road) & Hawaii ($1,800) (Trust me...this is not a fixed cost, only an estimate)
Next Year, his last hurrah, the director wants to go to CHINA!!! Projected cost for 5 days is $2,500 per students and the Director again expects to travel for free!!!!

For those of you who do not know, these trips are because someone trying to book parades or tourism sends out invitations to many bands nationwide that are known to be good. Foreign Countries send invites to sister cities to encourage tourism, etc. Schools everywhere get invites.

The Band President has two kiddos in the Band, the VP has THREE: they work their buttocks off for the band, yet they could not afford for their kiddos to go to London this past year. This Band Director gets "P.O.'d" easy and they HAVE to work with him.

FWIW: My sister called tonight. While in Publix shopping she ran into another student that is in another local HS band in our county. Their ENTIRE BAND went to Gatlinburg, TN, then Dollywood, etc for 5 days for $300 TOTAL: Bus, meals, motel. ALL BAND MEMBERS/STUDENTS WENT ON THIS TRIP.

I challenge you to say that your local high school football coach would try to play an away game with only HALF of his team! NO! They would have to FORFEIT! They have almost ALL of their team, or NO ONE PLAYS.

This is my position: Every High School Band with an Outstanding Reputation is built by the individual character and teamwork of hard working students that DESERVE A JUST DESERTS for their hard won efforts. Their REWARD should be a Band Director that is LOYAL AND RESPECTFUL for THEIR EFFORTS AND THE EFFORTS OF the PARENTS involved in their child's life. NO student, parent, or family should have to suffer because of these out of control teacher led trips. We are not talking about a trip that is above and beyond regular school...arranged on a summer schedule, we're talking about a regular school year EVENT THAT IS SUPPOSED TO REWARD THE STUDENT AND BAND FOR THEIR HARD WORK. If ALL of the students cannot afford these OUTRAGEOUS FEES associated with these trips, then the Director should be FORCED to work with the parents and the parents have a DECIDING VOTE on ALL of the invitations the Band receives. THIS is the only way I can see this working out.

What say you? How do we fight this Tiger? Any suggestions on how to politically nip his power NOW?

Thank you for your time. I sure hope you can follow my digress speech tonight.

SheriLynn


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Oh my goodness. I so hear you. I feel INCREDIBLE guilt because I talked my son out of taking the band route when he starts middle school next year - because we can't afford it. (Don't feel bad for him - he chose the technology route instead, which is right up his alley and won't cost us a dime). He wanted the band route because of the great trips he had heard about. You all know our situation right now...it just wasn't feasible. (And, he really only wanted that route for the trips, not because he enjoys practicing his clarinet or anything...)

Still - I feel guilty that I couldn't let him do this because we have ZERO disposible income right now. Our priority at the moment is figuring out how to miraculously come up with 5 grand for his braces - which we recently discovered our dental insurance won't cover a dime of.

Anyway, I digress...

This is such a tough situation for you. Is there any fundraising going on? I'm curious how schools in low income areas still area able to get their bands out and about on trips, when clearly the parents can't afford it. There must be a way. And no, the band director shouldn't get to travel for free. No WONDER he has no problem adding trip after trip after trip to the calendar.

Perhaps speak with the other parents and gain a consensus as to how many trips/how much money is each family willing to spend, present those figures to the director, and tell him that is what you all would like him to stick to. A budget for each family and then give him the freedom to choose what trips to take within that budget.

It's such a tough situation...kids are so EXPENSIVE! I'd take buying diapers any day over how expensive it gets as they get older.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Has nobody spoken with the Principal? Or someone even higher up in the district? Those costs are outrageous!

I would do as snookums said. If the director says 'no', then start climbing the ladder.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

i was in an inner city marching band for 4 years. if cost was an issue, there would of have been NO road trips.
i was in the Purdue marching band. we would road trip to other big 10 schools. usually,we would stay with local high school families and march at their high school football game the night before to cover our room and board. i never droped a dime in all the years i was in band at purdue, and we marched 350 people. no one could of been a bigger ass than al wright, director, or dictator of the band. it's big business. is this a public school?


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

no one could of been a bigger ass than al wright

LOL! Tell us how you really feel, momcat ;)


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Our local school board would NEVER allow this. Around here, the kids who can afford to pay, pay, and the kids who can't get scholarships. And NO ONE knows which is which...it's all done privately.

Plus, our HS band doesn't DO trips like this. Nor did our MS band.

If this is public scholl--I'd take it to the school board. If private--I dunno. That's a different scenario....

melanie


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

At the very least, I would be demanding from higher ups in the district that the band director be directed to pay his own way. Maybe he'll feel the pinch then.

I came up in band the same way you did. We were a UNIT, and acted as a UNIT. My freshman summer, we were invited to a marching band competition, along with a 14 day tour across Holland and Germany, ending with the competition in Munich, the week before the Olympics. We held fund raisers like you read about, and by the time we were done, between the trip and new uniforms (that were BOUGHT-- not rented), the trip cost each member was 517.00. We had 10 kids whose families couldn't afford to come up with the money, so the parents commitee took up a collection, and by the time all was said and done, those kids had to come up with 100.00 each. WE ALL WENT. That's one of the things band is supposed to teach-- TEAM WORK.

It's not all about the music and marching, and someone should clue your director in.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Yes, this is a public school. I understand that the principal and band director are big buddies. This is NOT just about THIS school. This is rampant in other schools.

These past two years I have had to deal with a blossoming Jr. High Band Director who is thinking "big" like these local High School Directors. He has NO RESPECT for what it costs parents. NONE. NADA.) He stood up at a meeting and said something to the effect, "Look. I expect parents to pay my way, too. I have a new baby! (applause from adoring parents) I work hard for your kids to be able to go on these trips. I put great packages together." I stood up and said, "You have one baby. I have four. I have two in college, two in braces. I PAY their way and I am NOT paying yours. The work you do is because this is your JOB. These trips are not required, they are reward trips FROM THE PARENTS to their CHILD: NOT FROM YOU, TO THEM. Keep this real: the PARENTS FOOT THE BILLS HERE. I believe that IF there is enough EXTRA money in the general fund after ALL BILLS FOR THE YEAR ARE PAID, THEN maybe the band could use the extra fund raiser monies to pay for you to go free. I believe that these RIDICULOUS uniform payments where marching uniforms were bought on CREDIT WITH THE NEXT PARENTS HAVING TO PAY THE PAYMENTS of $9,000 should be included in "all bills being paid IN FULL". I don't like how this program is being run."

Well, he said that if we didn't want him to go (free) then NO ONE would go. THEY couldn't go if HE didn't sponsor them. What happened? He went free. Talk about being an a$$ and PARENTS NOT WANTING TO CAUSE WAVES.

Well, I'm out in the Atlantic brewing up a storm. I want these attitudes STOPPED across our county. The jr. high band director is moving across the county to a new school. He'll propogate this 'over there'.

Not all Band Directors think the same way. OHOHOH...I just found out that due next month is a payment for the high school's uniforms due. The payment is for $16,000 dollars! Why? Because they got new uniforms a couple of years ago and started out in style. (This high school is almost three years old.) So, tell me, where does it end? The uniforms are STILL not paid for so fund raising has to continue for the next $16,000 payment due in a few more months. ALL students are required to do these fund raisers, too.

OH...My sister told me that the first year, the director printed up the budget and his expenses, but parents got upset and the director only wanted the Board to see the budget after that. THESE five individuals are the ones that are looking for "help" to fight this "Hidden Tiger", so to speak.

Thanks...gotta' work in the yard.

Sheri


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Wow, after reading your post I realized that here in Canada, high school bands (and cheerleading teams) are on a much, much smaller scale. I've always enjoyed watching the marching bands during American parades and sporting events.

Geez, it seems that you'll need a huge number of people to voice opposition in order to show this guy that he isn't the only one with control. After all, without enough kids willing to join, he couldn't revel in the glory of being band director and taking advantage of his position to avail himself of free trips. If trying to convey the message falls on deaf ears at meetings, maybe it's time to turn 'Norma Rae.' Perhaps the parents could organize a petition to distribute to all the band members, stating that if the trips aren't financially accesible to all members, none of them will go...therefore there will be no out of town band trips. I realize this is extreme and you'd have to be prepared for the outcome, but this guy needs to know that without participating band members, his job is inoperative. Just my two cents.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Sheri:

I haven't read all of the posts, but why don't you find your children private music lessons and call it a day. Let the parents who have more time and energy fight this one, then your children can move into band in a year or two.

Call a local music teacher association and get the names of instructors. Or your local symphony. You can even put your children in piano to bridge the year or two that they are not in band. It won't be the end of the world for your children. If they love music, hopefully they'll be willing to change venues for a year so you can regain your sanity.

This egotistical band director sees you as clay in his hands. He is using the parents and abusing his position by shoving all of this down the throats of the students and their families. Don't buy into it. You will only be frustrated by working with this man. Walk away, no one can have it all. This is a good lesson to teenagers, let them see that you are willing to say "no," and "enough is enough" to what may or may not be great experiences for the sake of peace and control over one's time and energy. You'll be happier as a result.

Though they may not be aware of it, what matters the most to your children is a happy mother.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Wow! That is SO out of hand...

How feasible would it be to suggest a more reasonable alternate trip? Something fun for the kids and affordable for the parents. Of course, the suggestion would have to be public, and you'd need to have a few key and vocal supporters already lined up...


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

I agree with you that this is crazy!

I would talk to the principal with other concerned parents and then follow up with him in writing. Since he is buddies with the band guy, you'll probably get nowhere. THEN I would meet with the superintendent, making it clear that the Board of Ed is next. Follow that up in writing too. You need to have at least a few parents on your side who are willing to go with you. Don't be surprised if some of them chicken out. They're worried that he will take out his anger on their kids.

Hard to tell how it will go for you, but in my town it took only two really irate, really loud parents to totally change how first grade homework was handled in our system (long story). Anyway, they did lots of homework, and researched how other (comparable) school districts handled it, so had lots of data and talking points when they met with the superintendent. The policy was changed forever the following year.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Thanks for the suggestions. It won't be long before we do something. I hope there are more people involved with spines. No one's spoken up in three years, or curbed this guy...and I haven't talked to anyone but the one that approached me, my sister, and "you".

Keep the ideas coming. I appreciate them.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Theer's not much you can do if the other parents aren't willing to step up and say "enough is anough".
Things like that are the reason why we didn't even let our daughter audition for a Cheer Team in our area. They travel 1-2X a month year around, attend two expensive Cheer Camps in the summer, have to take a total of 3 classes at the gym every week, buy several uniforms and warm-up gear, and have constant fund raisers. It's so expensive the gym even has a payment plan of $700 a month to fund it.
Did I mention she's 7 yrs old?
It sounds like your BD just wants to see the world for free while padding his resume. I 2nd the opinion that you should look into other options. I was in school orchestra, but got so much more out of private lessons and a few years in the city-wide Youth Orchestra. We did go on a couple of trips, but they were primarily funded by donors. It was such a higher level of insturction and opened up a whole to me I'd have never seen otherwise.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

I wonder if some publicity would help the principal to see the light?

It seems that local reporters are always looking for story ideas......


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

"It seems that local reporters are always looking for story ideas......"

Well, Mary 228, that is what I'm hoping. I have an 'in' with one local reporter that was in our band. Maybe he can shed some light on the local way of doing things now and with other schools. He's been here his whole life and his family owns one of the small town papers here. He did an article on a reunion we pulled together for a 10 year span band reunion we had a couple of summers ago. Everyone had a blast. I wrote the followup article and the editor of the paper (his mother) offered me a job to write for local politics! I completely forgot this past part. I've just not had time to do squat since then because of the house, etc. Hmmmm....

So, let's see...in my free time (WHAT free time) I'll try to contact him.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Here's one of my favorite quotes (Margaret Mead, I believe) that sums things up nicely:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Wow. Talk about over the top. Sounds like enough parents have to say "the coffers are closed" AND stick by it. A friend whose son played summer baseball went through similar a few years back. After parents paid the hefty basic fees, buying a uniform, equipment, etc. coach proceeded to sign kids up for (non local) tournaments all over the place. A couple hundred dollars here, a couple hundred there added up fast. Some parents were reluctant say anything, afraid that their son wouldn't get playing time if they made a stink. Finally coach went to far....asked for $500 DEPOSIT for another tournament - about half of total cost (for the player only. If you wanted to see your child play that was more $$$ for you). Oh and by the way it had to be in by the end of the week thank you very much. Parents revolted. The wallets stayed shut. Trip cancelled (can't play baseball with only 5 on the team). Coach got the message loud & clear.

Good luck on your mission. Hope you get the support you need.

PS: Think the reporter is an excellent idea. Having these practices publically exposed might "encourage" band director to re-think the schedule.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Hello Conversations Gang,

I do not post over this side, but this thread hit close to home! My 15 year old is very active in school band, and I was FLOORED to read this sad account. Never, in all my years involved in our public school system, have I heard of a situation that excluded any child based on ability to pay. Our band program runs fundraisers year round - all to fund trips - day trips, overnighters, and one big trip. The children earn points that go into their own personal trip fund account. So, the more car washes they attend, or younger children they tutor, the more visits to nursing homes to play for residents, or fruit they sell..the less the family has to pay. It is very clear, however, that NO child will be left behind due to the inability to pay. There is also a scholorship account available. All done privately, of course.
FWIW, here's a blurb right out of our band handbook. Sherilyn, feel free to share it with the Director :). I think one of the side benefits to being involved in band (aside from the great music education) is it's emphasis on service. Great life lessons.

Trips
It should be understood that trips that are planned for the band are considered to be a part of the students
musical education and all students are expected and required to participate. This will include the
Marching Band overnighter in the fall and the spring trip in April. No student will be excluded from a
trip due to lack of funds because every student is important to the success of the group. Arrangements
will be made to help students earn funds through service to the band program.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

clairneedsadvice, Your info on Trips has the attitude and support that I am grew up with years ago.

This high school is only three years old and the band director has called all the shots since then.

Nothing's been done that I know of since I posted this note. Band Camp starts in a couple of weeks so we'll see what happens.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Honestly - I think that these costs are not inflated. $317 for a uniform rental is quite low. A uniform can cost upwards of $3000. Look at our society today - not everyone is some homogenous in size. For goodness sake the average bra size has increased a cup and a half from the late 80s, not to mention the fact that waist sizes are drastically increased. Suiting up a marching bad these days can mean having such a WIDE range of sizes it's quite unbelievalbe.

The costs for trips, I encourage you to consider the cost of taking any trip to Atlanta that is a fully chaparoned trip with lodging, food, entertainment. $700 isn't very high. Again, Hawaii on $1800 - that's bargin basement. Seriously - go look at Sierra club, or some other full service vacation company, vacations are pricey.

I think that band is an amazing opportunity and applaud your director for even exploring those ideas. Most children will never have those types of chances, and when I was in school we worked really hard to earn funds for events. I don't mean a car wash here and there, I mean tons of fund raising.

We also had the 5th-8th grade students helping to form a general fund so that the less fortunate students could participate. It was like you had 4 years to anticipate the wonderful things that band would provide you in the future.

I really encourage you to look at this from a different perspective. Parents might need to ask their child to pick, God forbid a child miss out on something.

If you think this is expensive then brace yourself for college, a single semester of books could easily be $1000.

If you take the total of all those costs, it's far cheaper than sending a child to rehab because they were addicted to drugs, or the opportunity cost of a child drop out. Band teaches so many things, and I think it's wonderful that it will also teach the priorities of conscious spending, and the value of a dollar.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

I think it's alarmist to suggest that not paying up for an endless stream of expensive trips and activities would result in a teenager with low self-esteem, possible addiction issues, or even dropping out of school. Those sorts of problems are far larger than the cost of band.

No one can have it all. The sooner in life that any teenager can gracefully accept that life -time and money- has limits, the better adjusted that child will be in the long run.

Besides, how can you save for those college books if you are forking out so much money for one activity? But so many parents are afraid that their child will not get into the right college, or get enough scholarships, if everything isn't done to the max. Believe me, nothing will get a child into the right schools like high SATs, AP test scores, and a stellar GPA, unless your child is a musical genius. And these sorts of gifted children-musicians are rare.

To me, this is a symptom of the "have-it-all" attittude that so many people maintain and pass onto their children. This approach plays to the fears one has that if they miss out on something that their future will somehow be worse as a result. While children do need activities that are challenging and affirming, they don't need to have it all in terms of doing. That is exhausting. And I think it might undermines one's ability to feel satisfied with the little things in life. If everything is a big production, then you need an even bigger production to top the last one off.

I'm not suggesting that a band trip here or there is over-the-top. Not at all. But I deplore the approach Sherri has described at her school. It creates a tension in the family. That is a bad thing. I also will add that the private schools that my highschoolers attend do not demand such things of the band students. These schools realize that parents are spending a fortune for their child's education (so there's not much left over for band trips), and that what matters the most is academics. Band is a wonderful place for good friendships and good times, and to find out the caliber of musician your children really is vis a vis other talented kids. I do know that band memories are priceless.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

pebbles, you need to read my entire post. You've missed the main objectives. You've also missed the part where the $317 covered band camp, etc. I'm not complaining about those monies; however, those are not the only "band fees". This covers only marching season. I also said this is cheaper than "bail or a baby."

The Band Director is a spendthrift and liberal allocating monies for "his band" and expects the parents to pay without question no matter what he decides he wants to do. He is not setting an example of being a team player with a "one for all and all for one" type of attitude. His attitude is it's his band and no one's going to tell him what to do in this newer- 3 year old high school.

The bucks are stopping and parents want to unite.

As for knowing the reality of raising children. I have four. Ages 13 to almost 26. Two out of braces. Two are now in braces at $5,000 each. And two in college full time. I've also adopted two and one internationally. We're a family that travels and have lived overseas.

I know the cost of living a full life. I also know when a child is left out or can't participate because he doesn't have the money, is one thing; but participating and working their buttocks off only to have the Band Director chooses a trip that he'll never have the time to make money to go on, is cruel. The Band Director is out of line. I find his attitude deplorable. He doesn't care if the entire band goes or not as long as he goes where he wants to go. To heck with how the band sounds when they get there when less than half can afford to go.

And as for those trip prices: they are not set in stone.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

I think it's probably a case of a band director meeting what he sees as the needs of the community. Clearly spending the money on a home that has five bathrooms is a priority. He likley assumes that those same families highly value the children's acadamic and extra-cirricular experiences.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

Pebbles, again, dear, you've not comprehended the whole picture. You almost sound jealous. Don't be. Someone cleans those toilets and it's me. This is a public school and I'd guess at least half of the band members couldn't afford to go on the trips last year. Oh. I'm sorry. I'm not guessing. Those are FACTS.

This issue is not about what I can afford. It's about everyone being able to go on these trips and the costs getting in line with the budget that the school sets as well as what the Band Parents agree to do; not about what they are told they will do. It's about being all inclusive, being able to afford to participate. It's about caring. It's about teaching all of our children what it means to be apart of something bigger than yourself. It's about learning what is important more than who is important. It's about appreciating the little guy that plays the triangle as well as the 'star' soloist. It's about what's fair. It's about living within your means and being able to say, "That is too expensive. We can't afford to go unless we all work together and save the money to go." What it boils down to is character and leadership. Some people aren't taught this growing up. Some people go through life lovers of themselves.... Hmmm... Seems I've seen that before somewhere. (And I do know where.)

Am I getting through here? If everyone went on these trips, then I wouldn't even be writing here tonight. If the fund raisers supported the plans, no problem here.

I'm taking it to the streets before too much longer. Thanks for giving me practice, pebbles.


 o
RE: advice needed: reining in a band director & expen$ive trips

You should thank Pebbles for giving you another view because there may be some parents you haven't heard from as yet who don't feel the way you do. It's important to understand that if you are to be effective in changing this situation.

It may flatter your ego that you've been ask to "take it to the streets" as you say. I wouldn't go about it that way.

I'd take a quiet, methodical approach and attempt to build a consensus with a specific alternative plan of how this *should* work -- a plan which is reasonable, will not sound like you are trying to take over the school and dictate how they should be running things (not your responsibility after all though you can certainly take your kids out of the band), and a plan that has a prayer of being adopted.

You can make this into a diva vs diva situation, polarize the community, get everybody screaming, upset a lot of the kids even more and end up in a fight that goes on and on with everyone dug in.

Because that's how these things usually go.

Or you could quietly call someone who knows municipal and public law, an accountant, a travel agent, a child psychologist, a couple of other parents (maybe one a teacher) who know how to keep their mouths more shut than not, and produce something concrete. Figure out how to get your plan out there to be legally and logically considered, a plan that will benefit everyone and be reasonable.

But I will bet that if you are emotional about this and go on about it and turn it into a crusade it will be less effective than it might be. We have a lot of that where I live. Somebody's always screaming about something and even when it's worthy you just tune them out.

The bottom line for me -- and I say this as someone who has no children in the school system so I don't know what this sort of thing should/would cost -- it sounds very much like the school board members in our city who were having "meetings" in fancy hotels around the country and traveling there to meet with various educators on other issues and it was a complete reprehensible boondoggle -- free vacations. Or the school superindentant who ordered a $3000 leather couch for her office.

In our community the tabloids get hold of the $3000 couches or the $125 catered lunches and people don't stay in those jobs very long because after 1 or 2 front pages and public humiliation and photos that make them look like they're taking the perp walk, there's pressure on the mayor and the school board to act.

Public education in this country is a disgrace in many states. And while band is certainly an excellent and creative activity and a great experience I'm sure, I'd rather see that kind of money go into books, facilities, enrichment programs, special education. I'm sure many parents feel the same way (and of course some won't).

But if it's not done in the right way the principal and band director are going to marshall their forces and roll right over you and the other parents without even looking back. Then it's your kids who will suffer.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Kitchens Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here