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Music on the Ballot

WYALUSING — Residents in the Wyalusing Area said they take pride in the school district’s music program, but after the last school year, one teacher was laid off and another retired.

The district said it will add another staff member to the music program if voters agree to an increase in property taxes.

The Wyalusing Area superintendent, Chester Mummau, said the schools have fallen victim to the great recession.

“The past two years the district has furloughed or eliminated 17 positions throughout the district,” said Mummau.

That includes two of the five music teachers. This year, three music teachers have been working with more than 1,300 students in the district.

But a referendum may change that.

On Election Day, residents will decide whether they’ll approve an increase to their property taxes in order to hire another music teacher to the school district.

The average tax increase would be $46 a year.

“That depends on the value of their property. The $46 was on a property that was assessed on a property worth $75,000,” said Mummau.

If residents vote yes on that referendum come election day, the 4th music teacher would work at the Wyalusing Area Elementary School.

“Obviously more teachers would be better. The three teachers we do have, they’re exhausted, I can tell you that, but they do a very nice job and I don’t think the students have suffered at all,” said Mummau

Some voters said they’re unsure how they’ll vote on the referendum.

“We need to keep the teachers, but it needs to be worded different on the ballot,” said Donna Reese from Wyalusing.

“I think it’s time they start budgeting better, hiring the right people, lower the wages of incoming administrators and then maybe we’ll have enough money to keep the teachers,” said Charles Sanders from Wyalusing.

The Wyalusing Area School Superintendent said the referendum is different from the school budget vote.

Mummau also said that no matter what, there will be at least three music teachers for the next school year.

7 comments

  • Melody Harnish

    Dear Superintendent Mammau:

    I haven’t had any personal interaction with you, but I was shocked and disheartened to hear you downplay the importance of voting to increase property taxes in order to hire another music teacher in Wyalusing.

    “The three teachers we have are exhausted when they go home, I would say that, but they do a very nice job.”

    The Wyalusing music program and its teachers have played a major part in shaping and opening the minds of children and teenagers not just in Bradford County, but all over the state. Carol Madill, the passionate, driven, selfless spitfire that is one of the remaining three music teachers in the district (and the woman in the news report), has had a significant impact on my life. She encouraged me to come out of my 8th grade shell and audition for solos, challenged me to keep perfecting my technique, and was constantly taking the time to remind me not to let fear get in the way of my goals. She came in before school for vocal jazz and stayed late to rehearse for performances. Music was always an important part of Mrs. Madill’s relationship with all of us, but her priorities were building our confidence, pushing us past our assumed limits, and creating new ways for us to look at the world. The invaluable lessons that I have learned from her, and from ALL of the music educators in the district, are what I believe to be an accurate representation of what the majority of students took away from the music program.

    If our music educators are being stretched this thin, it is a slap in the face to all of the years that they have been choosing to go above and beyond for their students. It is unacceptable and insulting, Mr. Mammau, for you to dismiss their exhaustion because “we still have a very nice music program”. After all that they have given the community, it is time for us to give something in return. It is not too much to ask, it is not a difficult decision. It IS the right thing to do.

  • Roberta Shoemaker

    If getting rid of the music teachers did not affect the children than why wasn’t there a 6th grade play this year? The program they had this year was a JOKE..The kids AND the parents look forward to that play. It is one of the kids last big hoorahs from grade school. Music is the one art that has an impact on every child in the school system not just a few. The administration in Wyalusing is way too top heavy and HIGHLY overpaid. Weed out the admin. depart and bring back teachers for the kids..

  • Amber Fitzwater

    I find it funny that there wasn’t this problem until they merged all the elementaries into the new building. Now they no longer can afford to keep teachers and can’t afford to pay bus drivers that have been driving since our parents were in school. I understand that all the elementary schools had problems and it was cheaper to build a new school than fix the old ones, I just don’t understand how, if the new school was the cheaper solution, why it is affecting teachers.

  • David Kveragas

    How about they cut the sports program, starting with the lower grade “feeder” programs? School sport programs are bloated and should not start until ninth grade at the absolute earliest. That’s the way it used to be and it worked just fine

  • Keith Hinkel

    All America has money troubles due to Congress selling jobs to China and other countries. I get a foreign tetemarketer on the phone and I refuse to talk. We MUST stop all imports and reopen American factories THEN these money tax troubles will go away. Until then nothing but moaning whining politicians will be heard.

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