Band program in jeopardy of being cut for some students in Colchester

Band program in jeopardy of being cut for some students in Colchester
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, CT (WFSB) - Band programs at Jack Jackter Intermediate School and William J. Johnston Middle Schools in Colchester could soon be no more.

Superintendent Daniel Sullivan has proposed a nearly 9% budget increase for schools.

At a recent public hearing, a citizen asked what things would look like if the schools were only granted a 5% increase.

Sullivan outlined various programs and positions that would be reduced or eliminated.

“At the public hearing last week, one of the citizens asked the question, ‘what would happen if you only received a 5% increase,” Sullivan said. “At that point I outlined a length series of possible reductions that only got us to a 6.4% increase and in that list was the possibility of reducing a band teacher at Jack Jackter and William J. Johnston Middle School.”

That possiblity has students and parents pretty upset.

“Band has done so much for me that to have those kids stripped of those opportunities it just doesn’t sit right with me,” Bacon Academy senior Josie Thomson said. “Some of my best friends are friends I met in band in 4th grade.”

She’s been playing the flute for eight years and is afraid more kids won’t have the same chances she did. Kids like Jack Jackter Intermediate School fifth grader Ruby Jeffries.

“A lot of kids enjoy band,” Jeffries said.

If the Board of Finance or voters does not accept the proposal and demands more cuts, that is when band could see be on the chopping block.

“At this point it is purely speculative as to what will happen,” Sullivan said.

Josie’s mom Amanda hopes it doesn’t get to that point.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Amanda Thomson said. “To eliminate those opportunities for Colchester students, I think it’s very unfair.”

The Board of Finance is scheduled to meet Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the Board of Education budget process.