The Lamar Consolidated ISD Board of Trustees discussed the district’s new maintenance costs for band instruments, with one board member wanting more investment from students.
LCISD will pay five music stores and repair shops over $189,000 for maintenance for those instruments owned by the district. This is an increase from the 2017-18 school year, when the district paid over $184,000 to the same music shops.
The money comes from the district’s general fund.
Board member Jon Welch said at last month’s board meeting that after talking with a parent from a neighboring district, he wanted LCISD band students who play an instrument owned by the district an $80 fee per school year for cleaning and maintenance costs for those instruments, such as percussion instruments, tubas and French horns.
“I don’t understand why those families aren’t helping the district maintain that equipment,” Welch said. He also said those students on a free lunch program would be waived from paying the $80 fee.
Welch did drop the subject after there wasn’t a consensus among the board for his idea.
Supt. Thomas Randle said that small districts with 50 or so students that play band have a plan to pay a maintenance fee. But because LCISD is has over 20,000 band students, there is more flexibility for the district to absorb some of the costs.
“If there are some students that can’t afford their own instruments, they can have access to the district’s instruments,” Randle said.
Assistant supt. of secondary education Dr. Andree Osagie told the board that some bands have participation fees of around $500 for other costs, such as uniform purchase and cleaning.
Board president Kay Danziger said that the increase in the maintenance costs comes from more students participating in bands.
Chief academic officer Dr. Terri Mossige said that the increased costs are worth it because band students show more success academically than if they were not in band. “It’s a positive investment in our children,” she said.
Other board members asked the administration for more information at a future meeting on the how the costs affect band students. But Randle warned the board that any changes could affect the fine arts program as a whole.
“When you’re talking about the dollars and cents about it, you’re changing the program and the focus,” he said.