UPDATE: Bledsoe Co. High band could come back despite being cut
The halls of Bledsoe County remain quiet, but students and parents continue to make noise, attempting to save the band program.
UPDATE: The halls of Bledsoe County remain quiet, but students and parents continue to make noise, attempting to save the band program.
The school district announced last month "The Band of Blue" will not return next school year because of district wide budget cuts.
The beat could go on for students in the Bledsoe County band program, but right now It's a waiting game to see if there's enough interest to make a return.
The musical sounds are no more at Bledsoe County High School, at least for now, "The band of Blue" went out with district-wide budget cuts.
"My daughter has been counting the days she would leave middle school and head up to high school. She's been counting down the last few weeks because she's looking forward to officially being a part of the high school band," said Matthew Brown.
Tuesday, a glimmer of hope for students and parents like Matthew Brown. The county middle and high schools held enrollment for the band.
If enough students sign up, the program could come back.
"The goal today is to get enough students enrolled to get at least 30 students to enroll in band to reinstate the entire program," said Brown.
Channel 3 reached out to Jennifer Terry, Bledsoe County Director of Schools. Our calls were not immediately returned, instead her office provided a written statement, saying the board will make a decision based upon enrollment numbers at the next meeting.
"I don't think they are being fair, for one thing they view band as a sport, they treat it as any other sport, it's absolutely not a sport. There are far too many benefits that can be gained from the entire experience," said Brown.
The district said in may that a shrinking population is to blame. It's disappointing for students like Aliah Peterson who could miss out on the experience.
"I was really upset because I've been waiting for it my whole life to do it to get to 6th grade," said Peterson.
Families that cannot make sign-ups on Tuesday morning still have another opportunity later this month, The school will have another enrollment period on June 27th.
PREVIOUS STORY: Band students at Bledsoe County High School are making noise about budget cuts. Earlier this week the school board cut nearly $130,000 in funding. The cuts include the band program at the high school.
On Friday for their last performance, the auditorium was packed. Parents, teachers, friends and even rival high school band members showed up to let Bledsoe High know they support them.
They might be small, but their energy is mighty. “It is a little family, everybody gets each other. We can talk about anything to anyone pretty much,” said band member Kynzie Smith.
This school year is ending on a sad note. Earlier this week, the band program was cut short. The Bledsoe County school board voted to eliminate Frank Hudson's position at the school. “They are going to have a hard time not letting kids play music around here. The band won't be quiet because I am not here,” said band director Hudson.
For 18 years, students have been learning from Hudson. He created the band when the school didn't have a program for 10 years. Student's said they can't imagine going through high school without the band. “The band was my safe place to be myself. Brought me out of my shell. It made me be able to be myself and go out in the real world and participate,” said Brianna Allen a band member.
In a statement from the school board released earlier this week, they claim a drop in student population and state funding made them cut the program. But students wish there was a different solution. “I think the school should emphasize it more. It helps students. Be more social, help in other classes. Music has shown to help students be smarter,” said Kirkland Brice.
Some under classman hope to rally and save the program. But in the meantime, they will enjoy their last performance as the Warrior Band of Blue. “We have all banded together. Even the community. We would like to thank the community for helping us out. It is really important to us and obviously everyone else,” said Allen.
A teaching position at the elementary school was eliminated as well as the general music program at the middle school.
The Bledsoe County Board of Education issued this statement to Channel 3 Wednesday, May 4.
"Bledsoe County Board of Education made cuts to its 2017-2018 budgeted expenditures due to a decrease in student enrollment, which resulted in a decrease in state funding. As a result of the decrease in state funding, 2 1/2 certified teaching positions were eliminated from the budget. The system eliminated an elementary teaching position at Cecil B Rigsby Elementary School, General Music at Bledsoe County Middle School and the Band Program at Bledsoe County High School. Last year, the system was forced to eliminate a high school math teaching position, a middle school teaching position, a teaching position at Cecil B Rigsby Elementary, and a teaching position at Mary V Wheeler Elementary. The system continues to offer a high school music program which includes: Concert Choir, Music History, and Guitar and Keyboard/Piano Class. We will also continue to offer a Drama Program. Elimination of teaching positions and any of our arts programs or any program that benefits our students is a difficult, challenging, and struggle-filled decision and made only after consideration of the Board's obligation to provide the best possible education to all 1,600 plus students in our system. "