Citing both a potential violation of the Salisbury teachers union contract and student scheduling conflicts, the voted to make band a non-credit club and keep chorus as an elective course for credit next year at .
Acting Principal Ken Parliman requested the scheduling change at the board's Monday curriculum and technology committee meeting. Chorus would be moved into the block schedule of core courses for credit and band would become a club and remain in the Falcon period as a non-credit class. Students will also have the option of taking chorus as a non-credit club in the Falcon period.
The board met in executive session after the meeting to discuss how the current band and chorus schedule is a potential violation of a memorandum of understanding between the teachers union and the school district.
The district made a concerted effort more than a year ago to reverse the dramatic decline in student participation in the high school's music program. While middle school participation was strong, the administration noticed the numbers dropped by the time students entered high school. Last year, the band had only 12 students and fewer students were joining the chorus.
The district convened a music task force to study the problem and recommend changes. Parliman said the major reason students gave for not participating in the high school's music programs was because of scheduling conflicts.
When the high school offered band and chorus for credit this year during the Falcon period, when there are no conflicts with any other credit class, participation rose to 33 students in band and more than 90 in chorus, said Assistant Principal Bill Dovico.
Parliman said the music department notified the school the new schedule this year posed a "potential conflict with a memorandum of understanding" between the teachers union and the district.
Parliman also requested the schedule change for next year because band and chorus students felt overloaded by this year's schedule. In a school survey they said "they were swamped with work throughout the day" and had no breaks during the day, including what the Falcon was intended for, Parliman said.
Those students' schedule this year consisted of five classes a day of two 80-minute blocks in the morning, a 42-minute class of chorus and band and two blocks in the afternoon.
Parliman said more then 10 students asked if chorus could be offered back as a block class, and therefore be one of their main electives, so they could have their Falcon period available again. He said only one of the 33 band students was not going to continue with band if it was no longer offered for credit next year.