School Board Candidate Lawrie Kobza Says Don’t Cut Elementary Strings – Offers Suggestions

I support offering students the opportunity to take strings in 4th and 5th grade, and oppose the administration’s proposed cuts to the program.
Fourth and fifth grade strings is a well-established, much-loved, and much-supported program. There is also significant research demonstrating a high correlation between playing an instrument and achievement. Given all of these positives, the 4th & 5th grades strings program should not be considered for cuts until the district does everything possible it can to retain or if necessary restructure the program so that strings can continue to be offered in 4th and 5th grades even in times of tight finances.

One step in this process, and a step that the community has requested, is to bring fine arts professionals and advocates to the table and work collaboratively on what the district’s fine arts curriculum is and what it should be, what it costs, what ways there are to reduce or control district costs, whether there are other sources of funding, and whether services can be offered in conjunction with or through other community partners. Fine arts professionals and advocates are in the best position to look at these questions and think creatively about what and how these services can be offered.
Another step in the process is to form a community-wide task force, with a diverse group of interested parties, to establish community priorities for the programs offered by the school district, including programs such as fine arts and extracurricular sports. Instead of pitting program against program, we need to develop a community consensus on what the school district should offer and how cuts to desired programs should be made if cuts are necessary. The school board should use this community guidance — not just administration’s recommendations — as it makes necessary funding decisions.
The school district is faced with limited financial resources and as a community we must look at ways to reduce spending. However, I do not believe it is appropriate or justified to totally eliminate an important program such as 4th and 5th grade strings based solely upon the administration’s recommendation. We need to first take the steps set out above before we even consider elimination of this much-loved program.
Lawrie Kobza
Madison School Board Candidate for Seat 6
For more information about Lawrie, go to
Authorized and paid for by Kobza for School Board, Barbara Schrank, Treasurer