Fine Arts vs Sports strange battle

The heated discussion between fine arts and sports is not helpful nor is it valid. This district seems to have a hard to financing both as part of the districts curriculum. For parents like myself that have children that love the arts AND athletics I do not favor eliminating one or the other.
My 4th grade daughter has art, music, and strings twice a week each. She also has P.E. three times a week. At the elementary level they reduced the amount of recess the students have which is an issue for my very busy 1st grade son. The current budget proposal is asking for elementary P.E. as well as music and art to increase the number of students in each class which will eliminate positions for all.
Madison is one of the only large school districts I know of that does not have school sponsored sports at the Jr. High Level. And the current proposal would move many of the 9-12 athletics to MSCR and not under the school districts budget. Perhaps the reason parents of athletics are not at the board meetings is because the options are to restructure the system so it will survive, whereas for elementary strings they are proposing elimination. That is why I am excited to see some discussions about other options for strings if the referendum fails.

My sixth grade son would curl up into a ball and cry if he didn’t have his daily dose of sports, but he also loves his tuba, and my daughter would wilt in sadness without her daily dose of music,art and strings, but she is a mean swimmer and basketball player. Let’s fight for a well rounded healthy curriculm that includes fine arts, music, athletics and the best 3 r’s available. Is one more important than the other……..I think that depends on the person(child), and I know for my children these are the reasons they excitedly get up and go to school everyday.

4 thoughts on “Fine Arts vs Sports strange battle”

  1. True, it is important to have well rounded students, and yes i myself have done both the arts and sports. But why is it that there are Three wrestling coaches who have 40 players, get paid over 6,000 dollars EACH for a stipend, then there is only one director for the school play, with a cast/crew of 50 (at least ten more than say wrestling), and they get paid only about 1,500 for doing a play that takes just as much, and sometimes more time than wrestling? I mean you are saying here yourself that they are just as important, am i right? Well why can’t the schools give them equal importance? And in the elementary’s, there are teachers in our school that are teaching band for FREE!!! Also there are no after school programs for elementary that have to do with drama, are any arts for that matter, yet little league programs are a choice at all elementaries!! I don’t think that the issue is that they are both important, because physical development is just as important as mental development, the real issue lays within the schools, and how in fact, they do focus more on sports.

  2. From where I sit, this is a false division and one that keeps us from focusing on much larger questions about where district funds are going. By focusing on arts vs. sports, we buy into a system that pits one group against another to create a sideshow over an increasingly smaller slice of the tax revenue each year.
    Rather than accepting the current terms of the budget debate, I would propose that we stop accepting the district and board’s assertions that “we have no choice” when they place in-school programs and staff as the first items to be cut every year. While hiding behind revenue caps, the district and board have refused to do a comprehensive budget review that would give first priority to SAVING rather than cutting in-school resources.
    Under the guise of revenue caps, the board also has grown the MSCR budget to over $11 million PROPERTY TAX dollars and has consistently failed to examine the portions of the budget that do not directly contribute to school programs. (The pontoon boats are nice, but could we please have a survey to tell us whether voters would rather put property taxes into schools or free boat rides?)
    Until ALL of the revenue sources are explained and accounted for in a consistent way from year to year, the sports vs. fine arts part of the annual budget pageant will remain a diversion that hides much more serious questions about what our resources are and how they are used.
    One point of information: the East High Booster Club has labored in vain to get an accounting of how athletic fees are used, how programs are funded, etc. The response we got last year was incomplete at best.
    A district document two years ago asserted that the district pays for helmets, soccer nets, swimming clocks, and other equipment for our school sports programs. Like LaFollette, the East Booster club purchases a substantial amount of sporting equipment each year. We pointed that error out to the district, but the correction has never been made.

  3. Lucy, you raise an excellent point. So long as the citizens/residents/taxpayers allow the district to define the budget problem and the accounting inherent within it, programs will ALWAYS be pitted against one another. East schools will be pitted against West schools against LaFollete schools against Memorial schools, with everyone, poor, rich and middle class, losing. We know that’s what the Repubs in state government want to happen!
    It’s interesting that the MMSD and the booster clubs are haggling over who pays for what. PTOs have been paying for TEXTBOOKS and READ 180 and PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS for 7-10 years now (Doug Erickson did a great piece on this a few years back in the WSJ).

  4. The discussion of who pays for what is not new, at least not in high school sports. It goes back at least as long as the PTO discussions.
    The exchanges became more visible and heated when the board decided to add significant athletic fee increases, including the unexplained multi-hundred dollar “surcharges” for some sports. All with the implication that high school athletic teams get a free – and frivolous – ride. The circular discussions of ending “no cut” sports, putting sports within MSCR, MSCR priority in scheduling sports facilities, and the ill-advised attempts to get rid of high school athletic directors only added to the disconnect between what parents and student athletes experience, and what MMSD and some board members assert.
    It’s hard to know just how much of the current discussion of fees, advertising, etc. is fictive because despite years of requests, the district has yet to produce one spreadsheet that clearly articulates how much of high school sports is funded by athletic fees, property tax funds, booster fundraising, etc. The clearest numbers that we have are the numbers that come from the spreadsheets that detail the tremendous amount of time devoted to concessions at athletic events, spirit wear sales, and fundraising events. Similarly, the clearest numbers that we’ve seen on how things are funded come from our spreadsheets on how many uniforms, timing clocks, soccer goals, etc., the parents and booster clubs pay for each year.

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