KINGSTON – A large group of Wyoming Valley West School District students, concerned parents and alumni of the district's music programs did not receive the answers they wanted at Wednesday night's school board meeting. They were there to question a resolution passed at December's meeting that would allow the board to make changes to the district's music program.
The board first listened to a resident praise the district's music program. The resident then warned the board that any changes to the program would have a negative effect on it.
When a second speaker, Michal Markwith of Kingston, came to the podium, board President Gordon Dussinger told her and the assembled crowd, We did not take a vote to eliminate the elementary school music program. He went on to explain, We have a plan and then we're going to study it up until April.
Dussinger said that if others planned to speak to the same question, you're wasting everyone's time.
Markwith responded by reading a statement from her daughter Meg, who could not attend because she is presently attending a Pennsylvania Music Educators Association's Festival. Markwith's daughter's statement underlined her recent success in establishing a new chapter of the Tri-M music honor society at Wyoming Valley West. The success of the honor society, she felt, would be undermined by any cuts to the program.
A third resident asked about the parameters of the study to which Dussinger had alluded.
We want to know the actual numbers, the actual schedules, Dussinger said. He also said the board's interest was primarily in the elementary program.
Superintendent Charles Suppon said rumors had been spread that changes would be made to the middle school and high school programs. That is certainly far from the truth, he said.
Suppon also said the study coincided with budgetary decisions and a decision would be made at the end of April or beginning of May.
After the meeting, Dussinger was asked why he had voted against the resolution to change music programs at last month's meeting. I'm for the music program, he said, adding, Two of us decided that that was the way we wanted to vote.
A group of unsatisfied residents continued to talk after the meeting about the rationale for the December resolution if the board had no intention of eliminating music programs. Paul Gardner, of Plymouth, said that if no program changes were pending, they should rescind the motion.
In other business:
The board acted to guarantee that property taxes would not be raised above the 2.4 percent index allowed by the state.
Kimberly Leary was hired as a high school math teacher at a salary of $40,864.
The substitute nurse per-diem rate was raised from $75 to $100.