Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Arts Magnet Program at Bates update

This post is to encourage parents who support the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet Program at Bates Middle School to mobilize in support of it at the Board of Education's budget hearings in January.

Last Wednesday, Schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell presented his proposed FY2010 operating budget to the school board. It is a bare-bones budget with very few enhancements, a reflection of our dismal government revenue outlook. The wonderful point for local families is that one of the few proposed enhancements is funding for the continued implementation of the Arts Magnet Program at Bates next year. Many families have already been making plans for their kids based on the expectation that the Arts Magnet will be fully implemented. It is critical for it to stay on track.

(In fact, support is not just local - parents all over the county are hoping to send their kids to Bates for the magnet program. The strong countywide interest is prompting school officials to consider moving up the opening of another arts magnet program in the northern part of the county.)

Dr. Maxwell's proposed funding is the first step; the next step is for the Board of Education to support it. Not everyone in the county shares our local enthusiasm for the Arts Magnet, and it is an easy target for anyone looking for a program to cut. Supporters need to demonstrate the community's strong backing for this program and to reinforce that Dr. Maxwell made the right decision for our kids.

Two budget hearings are scheduled: one is on Tuesday, January 13th in Glen Burnie, the other is on Thursday, January 15th at the Board of Education on Riva Road. Both public hearings start at 7:00 p.m.

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